Thursday, 12 April 2012
Full fat or semi-skimmed?
I walked into Owen's, my wonderful local deli/butcher/grocery/cafe this morning and asked for my usual latte - made with full fat milk. They know me now, so I don’t have to specify the full fat bit every time. As she prepared my latte, Jane said she’d been listening to Woman’s Hour a few weeks ago and she’d thought of me because they were talking about the fact that full fat milk, cream, full fat yoghurt and even butter are positively good for you. She thought of me because it’s so unusual for anyone to ask for full fat milk these days it had stuck in her mind. On the radio, a nutritionist was saying that having semi-skimmed and skimmed milk prevents the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Surprise, surprise (well actually, no surprise at all to me) full fat products are better for us than semi-skimmed. They are much better. For us and for our children. We started talking about how common it is today to automatically go for semi-skimmed milk, as if somehow it’s better for us. I find it shocking that we have been brain washed to such an extent that we actually believe that changing the natural composition of a food can be better for us than eating it as nature intended. And many people have grown so accustomed to the taste and texture of semi-skimmed that they no longer like full fat milk, they find the creaminess unpleasant. What a sorry state of affairs when we prefer the adulterated version of a good, wholesome food. Is in any wonder that there has been an increase in childhood rickets (due to lack of vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorus and/or calcium - which depend on the fat in milk for their absorption) when even they are being routinely given semi-skimmed instead of full fat. Think back to your childhood, what kind of milk did you drink? Low fat foods didn't even exist 40 years ago and guess what, we were slimmer then than we are today, when we regularly ate puddings and butter and cream and FULL FAT milk.
Eating whole foods, the way they come from the animal or the ground makes so much more sense to me than putting them through any kind of processing to make them ‘better’. The only people who really benefit from the processing are the food producers who can charge a premium for this ‘improved’ version the food in question. At Beyond Chocolate we have been saying for over ten years that eating low fat, low sugar, low carb, low anything food is counterproductive both for weight loss and overall good health. Even the nutritionist on Woman’s Hour confirmed that you’d have to drink a lot of milk for the fat content to make a real difference to your weight. Eating the real thing (whatever it is) is far more satisfying and when we feel truly satisfied, we are far less likely to overeat, which is what really causes weight gain.
So, maybe it’s time to re-educate ourselves and our palates. Maybe it’s time to start eating real, honest, full-everything foods. If we are concerned about good health, then the things to avoid are surely the processed, artificial foods - and that includes low fat yoghurts (look at the ingredients on the back - they look more like chemical formulae to me!), low fat spreads, sweet things full of artificial sugars and stuffed with corn syrup. Bring back good old fashioned puddings with custard, bread with butter and delicious creamy yoghurts (the real thing, which you’ll find has very few ingredients: milk, yogurt cultures, maybe a bit of sugar, some honey or some fruit. That’s it.) real ice cream and home made cakes….
I am so glad that this common sense is making it’s way to Radio 4 and hopefully beyond. That really is good news.