We’ve been told “fat is bad” so often that it’s been practically bludgeoned into our minds. With nearly 70% of the country overweight and 35% obese, it seems that cutting fat and calories out of our diets is more essential than ever. Yet, the issue is much more complex than simply replacing traditional snacks with low fat foods.
The Skinny on Low-Fat Milk
Healthy.net warns that stripping the fat from milk may do us more harm than good. A national 10-year study of more than 3,600 men found that those with the highest intakes of dairy were more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer. Upon closer examination, researchers discovered that only men who consumed low-fat milk drinks had the higher cancer risk.
The Harvard Physicians’ Health Study of over 20,000 men tracked over an 11-year period yielded similar results. They examined the consumption of whole milk, skim milk, cheese and ice cream, and concluded that the increased risk of prostate cancer was attributable primarily to men who had one or more servings of skim milk per day.
There are two theories of why skim milk may be linked to a cancer risk in men. One thought is that removing fat from milk also strips it of vitamins A and D, which aid the absorption of calcium. When the calcium can’t be absorbed, it suppresses the formation of calcitrol – a hormonal form of Vitamin D that has anti-cancer effects in the body. Even though vitamins are often artificially added back to the milk, the body has trouble absorbing them.
Another possible explanation is that stripping fat from milk also removes Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a powerful anti-carcinogen and natural weight loss aid. Lab studies have shown that cancer cells were reduced anywhere from 58 to 90 percent when bathed in CLA milk fat. Swedish researchers found that women who consumed four or more servings of high-fat dairy has a 41 percent lower risk of bowel cancer as women who ate less than one serving. Each two-serving increment increase equaled a 13 percent reduction in colon cancer risk. Low-fat dairy had no effect.
In addition to increasing cancer risks, the Nurses’ Health Study linked reduced-fat milk and cottage cheese with teenage acne. Lead authors believed the changes in milk composition and attempts to balance the hormone with whey proteins may have contributed to the adverse effects.
NASA uncovered a body of evidence suggesting that non-fat milk is a contributing factor to heart disease. Comparatively, skim milk has substantial amounts of dairy protein but a low amount of B vitamins. The body then has trouble metabolizing the protein without the B vitamins, which produces a build-up of homocysteine – a known marker for heart disease.
Studies have continually contradicted the notion that low-fat dairy is best for optimal health. Even though we’re told that full fat milk is bad for the heart, a 2010 study of Australians found that those who ate the most full-fat dairy actually suffered from the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. Even though we’re told full fat milk will make us fat, a study of 20,000 Swedish menopausal women found that the consumption of at least one serving of full-fat dairy gained 30 percent less weight over a nine-year period.
A Quick Word On Low-Fat Diet Snacks
Low-fat diet snacks may be one of the biggest scams on the planet. Who could eat that 100-calorie pack of mini Chips Ahoy cookies and feel truly satisfied? These little “goodies” aren’t designed to make people lose weight; they’re designed to prey upon people’s need for simplicity and convenience, while also addicting them to the taste of chemical sweeteners and artificial additives.
BHT, BHA, Yellow #5 and Polysorbate 80 have all been linked to the development of cancer in laboratory mice, according to HealthScamsExposed.com. Synthetic sweeteners like Splenda, aspartame and high fructose corn syrup interfere with the body’s ability to regulate insulin, which is especially troubling for diabetics.
All scary chemicals aside, low-fat foods lack the necessary nutrition that helps us feel satiated, says Yahoo! Take rice cakes, for instance. Despite having just 35 calories, it’s basically just air. “You can enjoy a cup of fresh strawberries for those same 35 calories and you’ll get more flavor and nutrients,” says dietician Sharon Palmer RD. Baked chips are not the healthy alternative they’re touted as, either. “These products are very processed and tend to be high in calories, fat and sodium,” explains NYC nutritionist Gina Keatley.
All things considered, the best way to feel satisfied longer is to combine all carbs with a protein, according to LiveStrong.com. So, for instance, a satiating snack may be wheat crackers (homemade of course!) and string cheese, asparagus and hummus, a fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie, or apple slices with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s real food, and not any of the currently produced low-fat fake foods!