Kelly Liston

5 reaons to Ditch Low Fat Dairy

I grew up drinking 2% milk.  As a child I did not like skim milk because it didn’t TASTE like anything (I was on to something).  Once I was in college, and in charge of buying my own food, I only bought skim milk because I WOULD GET FAT IF I DRINK ANYTHING ELSE.  Seriously, everything I bought was fat free, or low fat if I couldn’t find a fat free version.  Along with most of our nation, I was terrified of fat.  Today, I will give you five reasons why low-fat dairy or fat free dairy DOES NOT do a body good.

5 reaons to Ditch Low Fat Dairy

1.  It ain’t REAL folks.

In order to become low-fat or fat-free the dairy has to go through some major processing.  Besides homogenization and pasteurization, the fat has to be taken out.  The skim milk is separated from the cream and now what used to be a WASTE PRODUCT is now a “health food.”  But wait, before the skim milk gets to the consumer, non-fat dried milk or powdered milk, is added back in to make it appealing (because no one would drink it otherwise).  The problem with the powdered milk is the oxidized cholesterol – the kind that PROMOTES cardiovascular disease.

2.  It is nutritionally deficient.

They let the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.  The butterfat present in whole milk is a great source of vitamin A and complex D vitamins.  When the fat is removed from the milk, also removed are the fat soluble vitamins, minerals, and short chain fatty acids.  So, now milk producers have to add those back in, but in a synthetic form (which can be toxic).  These fat soluble vitamins need FAT to be properly assimilated in the body.  Without the fat, they pass right on through.  Another thing to consider is that since milk producers are in it for the $$, they are getting max production out of the cows.  The more milk that a cow makes, the more dilute the vitamins in her milk.

3.  It may make you SICK.

Low fat dairy isn’t doing anyone any favors and certainly isn’t living up to its status as a “health food.”  Recent studies are showing us how the regular consumption of whole fat dairy can actually keep disease at bay.  Not only are saturated fats anti-viral and anti-fungal, they can also keep your heart healthy!  A 16 year study found that those who consumed whole fat dairy were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.  Palmitic acid, a component present in whole fat dairy, protects against insulin resistance and lowers the risk of developing Type II diabetes.  CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a type of fat abundant in cows (and other animals) on pasture, can significantly lower cancer risk.  Without the wonderful butterfat in milk, these benefits disappear.

4.  It does not keep the extra pounds off.

Here’s the thing with fat.  It takes longer to digest, therefore keeping you satiated LONGER.  You may consume more calories, but go longer between meals.  Low fat intake encourages frequent eating, which adds up in the long run.  A study showed that those who ate whole fat dairy gained less weight over a long time period than those who didn’t.  I have been consuming whole fat dairy for 4 years and my weight hasn’t budged.

5.  Whole Fat Dairy Goodness!!

So, what makes whole fat dairy worth drinking?  If you haven’t decided to switch by now, let me remind you that whole fat dairy is rich in vitamins and nutrients, it keeps disease at bay and can help keep the extra pounds off.  If the dairy you consume is raw, you get even MORE bang for your buck!  You get valuable enzymes that aid in digestion and assist in nutrient absorption.  Raw milk has healthy natural butterfat and unoxidized cholesterol, abundant CLA, and high Omega 3 and low Omega 6 ratios.

Making the change from low fat dairy to full fat dairy is a change that will definitely do your body GOOD.  As with all food, you have choices.  A GOOD option is whole fat pasteurized organic milk.  Why organic?  With the organic label you know you are drinking milk that has not been subject to pesticides and GMOs.  A BETTER option would be Organic whole fat pasteurized milk from grass fed animals (preferably not homogenized).    The BEST option is raw (unpasteurized) milk from grass fed animals.  To educate yourself on the benefits of consuming RAW dairy, please visit A Campaign for Real Milk.

Other Resources:

The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Oh Lardy's Guide to Fermenting Fruits and Vegetables


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Kelly Liston5 Reasons to Ditch Low-Fat Dairy

73 Comments on “5 Reasons to Ditch Low-Fat Dairy”

  1. J W

    I agree that whole milk tastes better and with only 3.5 percent fat, it’s actually a lowfat food compared to many in the grocery store! I do NOT agree with the idea of drinking raw milk…. Would you eat your fresh veggies without washing them? Raw milk is full of bacteria, no matter if it is organic or conventional, until it is pasteurized. Pasteurize it for your family’s sake.

      1. Stewart

        No, unpasteurized milk causes disease. Any enzymes in the milk (which is a part that this article promotes) will be denatured in the stomach acid just as they would by pasteurization. Everything they else that was mentioned in the article of being a benefit of unpasteurized milk is going to still be in there after the milk is heated up aka pasteurized. Disease from raw milk isn’t common but it is more common than regular milk. There is truly no difference other than increased risk by drinking it raw.

        1. LAE

          Pasteurized milk can cause just as much, if not MORE disease than raw milk!!! Read “The untold story of milk” if you want to get all the facts. It all depends on the farmer and their practices. I have no qualms drinking raw milk because I know where it comes from and know the farmer has clean and safe practices in taking care of his animals. Raw milk is full of bacteria, beneficial bacteria at that. I second the recommendation to check out realmilk.com.

        2. Char

          If having raw dairy causes disease, I should be dead by now! I’ve consumed raw milk since I was a kid, and now my kids have raw milk. They don’t even like pasterized milk. Pasterization kills off the good stuff.

    1. Mary Titus

      People who drink raw milk do it not only for the better flavor, but for the nutrient content AND the bacteria. It is due to the lack of bacteria that people purchase probiotics. Probiotics replace the bacteria that should have been in our food, namely milk. Pasteurization actually is done to kill the germs that is picked up through the mishandling of milk, not from the milk itself.

    2. Tammy

      The concluding argument is false. Likening not washing one’s fresh vegetables to not pasteurizing milk are two separate things. For starters, those who are licensed to produce and sell raw milk have very strict cleanliness standards by which they must abide. They do keep all areas clean and the udders clean while milking. Pasteurizing is more like cooking your vegetables in boiling water for an extended time, thereby destroying most of the vitamins and nutrients in that vegetable – and making it quite unpalatable. (I know there were numerous vegetables I hated growing up because my mother would do this very thing. I had no idea how good they could be raw or properly cooked, which would be more like low-temperature pasteurization.)

      Why was pasteurization started in the first place? Louis Pasteur was researching microorganisms. He found the tuberculosis (consumption) bacteria and discovered that a variant of that bacteria could be found in cow’s milk. He made the leap that people contracted consumption from cow’s milk, therefore, heating it to very high temperatures for a short time (big dairy producer organizations do this to reduce costs) or a lower temperature for a longer time (small, licensed dairies) kill that bacteria. If that happens, then tuberculosis would go away.

      Research in the early 1900’s compared individuals who drank raw milk versus those who drank pasteurized milk. The results, are that a significantly lower number of people contracted tuberculosis who drank raw milk than those who drank pasteurized milk. Unfortunately, at this point, large corporate dairy producers had already gotten involved and were not wanting to let local dairies have a share of the market. It was better for people to fear raw milk and buy from them.

      Additionally, those who have asthma attacks when drinking pasteurized milk have been shown to not have them if they drink raw milk.

      Furthermore, drinkers of raw milk have better teeth and less decay than those who drink pasteurized milk. One study of children in a remote village showed pictures of big bright smiles. Within two generations of drinking pasteurized milk instead of raw milk, dental crowding was a significant problem for the whole population of children.

      If you are in doubt, drink low-temperature pasteurized milk. It has great flavor, the first drink with the cream is always a race in my family, and the bacteria that would concern you are killed, while also killing some, but not all beneficial enzymes.

    3. Albert J. Van Thournout

      My five brothers and sisters and I grew up on raw milk from our dairy cows.. My parents, aunts, uncles and cousins drank raw milk. Based on the evidence of long life and rare illness in our large family, I have to say I completely disagree with the scare statement about raw milk being full of bacteria is somehow mortally dangerous.

  2. Marie Smith

    I grew up on good old fat milk, home made butter, cream, cottage cheese. the milk down in the states1%, etc taste like powder milk.
    the milk here in Canada it taste like milk 1%, skim taste like real mailk.

  3. Michelle

    What about skim milk from my local dairy farm? I can ask them, of course, but do you know if it’s different? They do everything right there. Another option they have is pasteurized, non-homogenized milk. They say it’s a less processed option and needs to be shaken before each use. I’m wondering if I can pour off the cream from the top and drink the ‘skimmed’ milk that way. Thank you!

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      Not sure about how your dairy processes skim milk. Simply ‘skimming’ the fat off of the milk makes it skim but I do not know what our dairy does . Non -homogenized milk is always a good option! W

    2. Mary Titus

      Yes, milk can be minimally processed. If I don’t have access to raw milk, I choose the minimally processed grassfed milk .

  4. diane

    There are healthy fats such as avocados nuts, olive oil, but the fat in dairy is not a healthy fat and it will make you fat !!!!!

        1. Stewart

          No, milk fat is medium chained fatty acids. It isn’t unhealthy. It is the same fat present in breast milk, when was the last time you saw an obese baby who was only fed breast milk? Unhealthy fats are trans fats and saturated fats which aren’t in milk because they are solid at or below room temperature so the milk would be chunky.

          1. kitty

            Cows milk is for baby cows. Human milk is for baby humans. The two can not be compared. Even “baby formula” is cow’s milk modified so babies can digest it. All milk we buy in the store is modified so that humans can digest it and not become ill and have you wondered why it says “vitamin D FORTIFIED”? Because it has to be ADDED in order for us to absorb the calcium in the milk. Also, the vitamins do not lessen or “dilute” when the cows production is increased. This is all false information.

            1. LAE

              Why did people in the Bible drink cow’s milk? Milk is a gift from God, and I thank God for it!

              The problem with digesting dairy goes back to the pasteurizing process, which kills many things in the milk including lactase. Everyone has a certain amount of lactase in their bodies, but the naturally occurring lactase in the milk helps us to digest it. When pasteurization kills that lactase, it makes it more difficult for people to digest. Fact: many people who are lactose intolerant can drink/digest raw milk just fine (because the lactase was not killed in pasteurization!).

            2. David

              Hi Kitty,
              I have worked in the dairy industry most of my life. You are the first one to say something I agree with.

    1. Mary Titus

      This is simply not true. We have been nurtured to believe this but it isn’t true. Saturated fat is a protective fat and healthy fat as long as it is not processed or oxidized.

    2. Tammy

      Naturally produced fat does not make you fat. Mechanically produced fats have a whole host of medicinal issues, but natural fat does not make you fat.

      Grains and excess sugars make us fat. It has to do with the way our bodies metabolize sugars through insulin and its affects on the liver and our insulin receptors.

  5. Justin

    This is a great blog entry, but you mention a lot of studies showing the health benefits of whole milk vs low fat options, and I wish you would have cited some sources. Not everyone is going to be convinced by the phrase “recent studies show”. Can you provide some citations to the studies you’ve seen?

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      There are numerous studies sited within the article and in the additional sources section at the end. The part you are referring to where it says “recent studies” covers the recent studies within the same paragraph. I.E. I say ‘recent studies show’ and then go on to talk about EACH study within that paragraph. Thank you for commenting, though.

  6. SF mom

    Many dairies (particularly in Northern California) do not add powdered milk to their lowfat or skim milk. Just check the label! Also, what sort of ‘major processing’ do you really think is involved in making lowfat milk? Separating fat from liquid is just gravity. Homogenization is just physical shaking. Pasteurization is just rapidly heating and cooling. These techniques have existed for quite a long time, even if the machinery might be a bit more modern now.

    Anyway, I’m not in complete disagreement with everything said here, but you really need to check your facts.

    1. Ron

      Homogenization is not just shaking. The fat particle size is smaller so Brownian movement will help keep fat suspended. I don’t know what this does in digestion, and I don’t see studies on it but it could be comparable to simple vs complex carbs.

  7. Annie

    I like to drink whole milk as much as anyone and am a big fan of whole food in general, but if you read those studies closely they don’t report the exact findings you’re claiming, or they say there is a “correlation” or that the findings aren’t complete and warrant further investigation. I feel like you’re putting a spin on the facts to support your argument.

  8. Kath

    Dude! You blew it! Drink non dairy milk. You forgot to tell the ugly truth about growth hormone, pesticides, antibiotics and puss! Drink almond milk fools.

      1. kitty

        YES! Non dairy is the way to go! You can get the calcium and vitamins by eating healthy foods! Humans are the only adult animals who feel the need to drink the milk of a different animal.

        1. Tammy

          Have you never seen a cat or dog drink milk? They will drink it in a heartbeat, greedily. Humans happen to have opposable thumbs and the capacity for raising cattle and milking them. Other animals do not have that capability, hence, they cannot drink milk from other animals as adults unless humans share with them.

  9. Elisabeth

    I think this is a pretty good article. I don’t think that people should push their “dietary laws” so much. God made food for us to eat. We should eat healthy but not get obsessed with what we eat, for we are all going to die. We ought to be more concerned about our spiritual lives than our physical.
    Thank you!

  10. Shalini

    I wanted to clarify whether you thing, the regular full fat, homogenized and pasteurized milk available at the supermarkets is better than the skim milks ? Also are you referring to organic unhomogenized milk and raw milk in your article. Over here we do get the organic Horizons milk but its Ultra Pasteurized and my homeopath had said that it very harmful as Ultra Pasteurized milk contains many dead bacteria in it.

  11. Jake

    The only one of your 5 points above that is the least bit convincing is number 3.
    You have no references to scientific evidence or documentation that supports 1, 2, 4 or 5.
    This seems more like your opinions that anything factual.

  12. Sanjit Mandal

    Very true on may counts!

    People should eat natural high quality food in moderation, don’t worry about the fat, sugars, etc.

    This goes the same for my karate students, don’t focus on the short cuts, belts, focus on YOUR training, push yourself and all will be well.

    1. Tamara Mannelly

      I am not sure I understand your question. Whole milk is always going to be better than the processed 2% and skim. Organic is going to be better than conventional. Grass fed better than grain fed. Low temp pasteurized better than ultra pasteurized. And, raw is the best. You have to find the best option where you shop. As far as what store you are buying your milk, it depends on what brands they carry. Even Kroger probably carries Organic Valley whole milk or some other brand of organic whole milk.

      If you are referring to any pasteurized milk being more processed than raw, of course that is true. Most people can not access raw milk and need to know what to buy at their local store. For info on raw milk check out http://www.realmilk.com

  13. Sharon Moreno

    AHH!!! I’m glad to see that the folks who are trying to derail you are largely being ignored. Don’t argue with them, it is a waste of your time, that’s for sure!
    For all of you saying things like “full fat dairy WILL make you fat”, “raw milk is deadly”,”cow’s milk is for baby cows” etc… I have a suggestion for you, DON’T DRINK IT! Simple!
    And as to all of your negativity, who do you think funds all of the “studies” where raw dairy and/or full fat dairy is “found” to be bad? You talk about how there is no conclusive evidence for any claims made for raw milk. However, if Big AG and Big Dairy were not in cahoots, their studies wouldn’t be conclusive either. It takes a LOT of money for these so called studies to happen, and it takes Big corporations/Government to come up with said money. If you had enough money, you could make the outcome of ANY study benefit you. It doesn’t take much of a brain to figure that out.
    Oh,and to the person who commented that “you wouldn’t eat vegetables without washing them first”, I have news for you. If it were my home grown produce, YES I would.
    Salute to my special girls Dolly and Poppy! They are wonderful cows!

    1. Sandra

      When I go out to eat and order milk, most places serve 1% or 2% milk. I ask for half and half then I put 2 or 3 in a large glass of milk and it is like whole milk!!! I can not drink the low fat milks.

      1. Kelly

        Problem is that unless you’re buying organic cream, the “half and half” or “cream” you’re getting at restaurants/coffee shops/grocery stores isn’t truly cream – look at the ingredients, it’s full of garbage!

  14. Kelly

    Problem is that unless you’re buying organic cream, the “half and half” or “cream” you’re getting at restaurants/coffee shops/grocery stores isn’t truly cream – look at the ingredients, it’s full of garbage!

  15. Richard Comments

    Just to add possibly something to the stream of thought here….

    I just looked at my bottle of low fat milk and according to the federally required to be accurate nuitrition label, the ingredients are non-fat milk, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. Nothing about non-fat dry milk…. Maybe my grocery store is unique… Probably not!

    Secondly, in the 10-15 minutes of research that I have done online just now, there is no independent verification of the information that is provided in point 1. All I have been able to find is the same information provided by organizations and people with an apparent agenda to promote the consumption of raw milk.

    The repeating of the same information does not make the information correct or true. If it did I would still have my doctor and my health plan that I liked!! :-)

    Until someone can provide documented information that NFD milk is added to the non-fat dry milk during the processing, I am going to shout HOGWASH at the top of my lungs.

    Please understand that I am not saying that the author is wrong, but I am saying that he/she needs to provide the documentation of what she is saying.

    1. Kelly

      Yes, milk is milk + vit, but coffee “cream” is not just milk. Google search the ingredients (I don’t have any in the house to reference) – “Ingredients: Cream, milk, skim milk powder, dextrose, carrageenan, mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, polysorbate 80, sodium citrate.”

    2. David

      Hi Richard,
      I had a dairy inspector friend that would high five you. When I talked to him about unpastuerized raw milk he said “would you rather have milk that has been heated and cooled to kill off the bacteria growing in it, or not. An Amish farmer may be fully organic, but if a little sh*t falls in the milk can/bucket, there is no dumping of the milk or means to remove it.” I used to drink milk straight from the teat, but not anymore. I find it interesting that the author has a vested interest in selling raw milk. Do you think money has anything to do with this article?

  16. Honora

    In New Zealand, our milk has some of the protein extracted which is then dried and sold as whey powder to the United States etc. I note the brand I buy which is organic and pasteurised but not homogenised, has slightly more protein in it than the ubiquitous brands we have here.

  17. Jodi

    While I’m very open to your opinions about raw whole milk, my skim milks–lactaid skim and organic valley skim–say nothing about any dry milk powders. I don’t think it’s possible that the corporations are hiding this information. Where do you find that there is milk powder? Thanks!

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