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.
Posted by Sophie Boss at 12:19
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Hurray for fat! We've been brainwashed into believing fat is the enemy for too long (see Zoe Harcombe for good details). How can something the nature intended be so harmful to us? Keep spreading the word! Go away diet food - you're the reason we're fat in the first place!ReplyDelete
I agree with you about eating whole foods, my problem is at the moment I'm trying to reduce my cholesterol levels. I had them tested and they were really high and I'm only 31. Have you read anything or know about how full fat products like milk might effect cholesterol? I've been told to choose the low fat options.ReplyDelete
Hi Helen. There's a book by Dr Malcom Kendrick called 'The Great Cholesterol Con'. I don't know if what he says is true, it sounds likely and plausible to me... in any case it makes for a very interesting read and it's even funny, which may sound unlikely for the topic!ReplyDelete
I've noticed recently, whilst tuning into my body's needs/wants, that it is after I eat any low fat food or foods with artificial sweetners that I tend to afterwards go on a binge as my body is still wanting the desire of the actual sugar/fat. I no longer eat low fat or foods with artificial sweetners. I'm not surprised either that my binges have reduced/almost stopped!!! Bring on the fat!!!ReplyDelete
Completely agree with this!I have been experimenting with meals - low fat and 'healthy' vs what I really want which at the moment is high fat. Monday morning I had porridge for breakfast (which I do like a bit but it might be because I grew to like it when on a diet)- I found I craved food all day and couldn't think about anything else. Tuesday morning I had 1/2 a blueberry muffin for breakfast which I really fancied (I couldn't finsh the whole thing because it was so rich). I found I didn't think about food at all apart from when I started to feel hungry and then I ate much smaller portions than I would normally.....interesting findings!ReplyDelete
That's really interesting and yes, as a kid I grew up on a dairy farm and we ate the real stuff straight from the cows, yummy and rich, home made butter and it goes on. Problem is I am now lactose intolerant so I can't eat any dairy :( I do crave it badly at times, and its often those times I end up with a binge as I just cannot satisfy the need. Any help on this tricky one please?Delete
What an interesting post, I do have one question though - if we have spent our lives eating artificial rubbish , isn't it too late to help our bodies by eating real natural food? Surely a lot of damage has already been done?i for one used to use a LOT of astatine sweeteners (diet coke, Splenda ) which are linked to cancer - the real deal not one of the Daily Mail's fads! Any suggestions?ReplyDelete
my own view is that it is probably never too late to halt or even reverse damage. Our bodies are v good at recovering from all sorts of 'abuse' - we know, for example, that the benefits of gving up smoking are seen within 24 hours so it is not unrealistic to expect the same with changes in food intake. The other point, Alice, is that unadulterated food tastes so much better. Even before coming across BC I had gone back to butter, proper bread and yoghurt etc on the grounDS that they just tatse better than the low fat varieties. . I may have done some harm to my body by previous eating which I can't undo - but I am going to make sure I eat only what I like in the futureReplyDelete
And Nycole - you do make an interesting point about eating food you like. I love porridge - nothing to do with attempts at weight loss but memories of being a child and cold winter mornings. I make it with full fat milk and have brown sugar or honey and it is real comfort food so my memories of it have no association with diets whereas i find muffins just too sweet------------ perhaps one of the keys to BC is understanding what shaped our early eating as much as understanding what governs it now?
Thank you so much for this post. For the first time ever I bought a large carton of whole milk at the supermarket! My husband looked at me in surprise - and I replied "my mum won't be impressed." I'm 31 - and that simple exchange speaks volumes about my own personal food journey. Don't get me wrong, I've had real butter in the house for months now and I'm thoroughly enjoying eating what I want, rather than what I think I should eat. The thing is I came to Beyond Chocolate a few years ago but without realising I ended up on my own self-imposed diets over the past 2 years including being vegan and then low-carb. I'm pregnant now and in a way the food cravings and sudden dislikes towards certain foods has kickstarted me into really listening to what my body wants and only eating what truly seems appealing at the time. I'm also not worried about gaining weight during pregnancy, which even a year ago would have been terrifying to me. I keep coming back to the principles of BC. So thank you Sophie & Audrey, it has taken quite some time for me to reach the stage where I feel comfortable with everything, following my intiial "I'm going to do BC to the letter", followed by the restrictive diets and self-loathing. I suppose I just wanted to let you know that I'm in a good place now and of course I'll be having to continually 'catch' my gremlin - but to be honest I haven't really heard(or paid attention to) the gremlin much recently - and life is so much simpler and enjoyable. Can't wait for your new book! xReplyDelete
I've got a question about the vitamin absorption comment. I used to drink skimmed milk, but changed to semi-skimmed after reading an article by the Food Doctor saying that the fat in milk helps you to absorb the vitamins, and without the fat you don't absorb them. His advice, however, was to go with semi-skimmed as there is enough fat in that to absorb the vitamins, it isn't necessary to swap to full-fat if you don't like/want full-fat. Your article implies this is incorrect, that the only way to absorb the vitamins is to go full-fat?ReplyDelete
Helen research findings several decades ago showed that they got it wrong when advising us to avoid saturated fats. Think back 100 years or less. As Sophie says we used to eat butter, full fat cheese, milk etc. There was less heart disease or problems with cholesterol. Studies I've read about showed that we are better off having saturated fats. Our bodies need them and hence if we try and eat low or no fat our bodies crave the full fat foods. The fats which are the worst are known as trans fats, hydrogenated or refined. The latter three are basically the same thing. In margarine spreads and other products manufacturers use these fats as they help to keep products for a much longer time. These fats are the only truly harmful ones. The supposed good for cholesterol spreads such as Bertoli contain refined oils. I know as I read ingredients on a tub recently. Its possible Flora or similar ones may contain refined oils too. Always read labels. Personally I would rather have real butter or goats butter. Or Pure margarine which doesn't contain the refined fats.ReplyDelete