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I, for some reason, pushed snooze on my alarm this morning and woke up almost an hour later than I had planned. I hate that feeling! So, the morning was really rushed. I do not do well under time constraints and tend to get a bit frantic. So glad we had leftovers that could be used for lunch, at least for M1. I did not pack my own lunch this morning, sigh...take out it is.
As I packed an Organic LOWFAT Milk in M1's lunchbox, I cringed a bit and then thought it would make a great topic for today...
The Importance of Full Fat Dairy for Kids
Not every kids needs, or can consume dairy. The increase in dairy allergies is prevalent, there is no doubt. But, for those who can and do consume dairy, full fat is essential. We already discussed the importance of fat in the diet, now lets highlight how full fat dairy differs from lowfat or gasp, skim diary.
This would apply to yogurt as well. Full Fat and Cream top at our house. Let's be honest, it tastes way better too.
Why Full Fat Dairy?
I have to admit, I grew up as a skim milk kid. For year as an adult, I still bought skim milk. Now, I can't stand to even look at the stuff...it's BLUE! Milk should be white and creamy, not blue and devoid. When I was in college, I read a couple of articles and book that changed my life and set the stage for my love and knowledge in nutrition. In these books, dairy was a focus. Specifically the importance of the fat in milk. I wasn't the only one, I am sure. We grew up in the nutritional generation of lowfat, nofat diets. The full fat movement is underway, and we are seeing an increasing amount of research that puts this old myth to bed. Especially with dairy.
Here are some more recent studies:
So, why is there this inverse relationship? Why is full fat dairy doing the opposite of what old school nutritionist would have you think?
Nutritional Difference of Whole Milk
Besides being deliciously creamy, and better for cooking, it is also better nutritionally.
Whole milk not only has vitamins and minerals, but many of them are fat soluble. Meaning, they need a fat to be absorbed and utilized in the body. Skim milk does not have, well fat, so the synthetic vitamins that are added to it (because most of them are removed during the making of skim milk) cannot be absorbed. That being said, if the cows are not eating grass, the milk is devoid of these nutrients anyways. Cows make these fat soluble vitamins from grass, not corn.
Full Fat Dairy contains a chemical called Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA is a type of fat that is used to signal the body to build muscles. It actually tells your body to take your fat cells and use them to build muscle. This is why it is now a popular nutritional supplement for athletes. CLA is only found in Grass-Fed diary. Obviously this would be absent in skim milk, which is fat free.
Whole milk also contains Omega 3 fatty acids (grass-fed only). Which we have discussed in the past as well.
Whole milk also contains anti-oxidants, not found in skim milk.
Dangers of Skim Milk
I think it is important to understand that lowfat and skim milk are relative newcomers. Historically, milk was full fat and non-homogenized, and most often not pasteurized (we can and could do another topic on that alone!).
Skim milk was industrial waste. It was the leftovers from removing the cream from milk. It was discarded, or added to animal feed. During WWII things changed. A scientist linked fats with heart disease (which has since been a debunked study), and pushed for a decrease in fatty foods. It should be noted that before this time heart attacks did happen, duh, but were no where near as common as they are in subsequent decades since the initiation of no-fat diets, and at the time cream and butter were staples of the american diet. ANYWAYS. The Dairy companies now had a way to market this industrial waste product.
Skim milk has no nutritional value. It is sugar water, enough said.
I find if very disappointing and sad to see the only options for kids school lunches for milk being lowfat/skim, sugary, watery whey, or chocolate, sugary, water, whey. And THAT is what the councils who create our school lunch programs deem as healthy. Even, so called, healthy organic brands like Horizon, the only option is lowfat in packable milk contains. Of course my daughter sees her friends with these, and wants them in her lunch as well.
So, What do We Do?
Ideally, we would all buy organic, grass-fed, un-homogenized milk, and send it to school with our kids in personalized thermos's. Hey, that's not a bad idea.