It’s no secret that the topic of dairy consumption is a source of confusion for many people. Is milk actually good for you? Is low-fat better? Or should you consume full-fat dairy instead? And what about raw milk? The debate can get heated and divisive.
But not everything you read about the ills of full-fat dairy is true. Keep reading to find out why full-fat dairy might actually be good for you along with a few tips to help you choose the healthiest dairy options possible.
3 Important Benefits of Eating Full-Fat Dairy
Full-fat dairy comes with a host of benefits – ones that simply aren’t present in the lower-fat options. For example…
- Full-fat dairy may decrease your risk of obesity. Part of the confusion on dairy stems from the old school belief that “if you eat fat, you’ll get fat.” Research has clearly and repeatedly debunked this theory. Studies now show there are many, many benefits of eating healthy fats, including full-fat milk. When it comes to these healthy fats, specifically full-fat dairy, there seems to be a clear correlation with a lowered risk of obesity
- Full-fat dairy helps you feel fuller sooner. One possible explanation for the decreased risk of obesity is that foods higher in fat tend to be more satiating. This means that it takes less to fill you up. When you feel fuller, you consume less food. When consuming foods containing full-fat dairy, you may feel satisfied sooner than if you ate the lower-fat alternatives.
- Full-fat dairy contains important nutrients that otherwise get stripped out. When a cow produces milk, there’s a natural balance of sugar, protein, and fat within the milk in its raw form. This special balance helps improve digestion and overall absorption in the body. But when that milk is pasteurized and gets stripped of its fat, the delicate balance is thrown off. Sugar levels increase, protein availability decreases and it becomes a nutrient-poor food once it’s been heated, treated, and turned into a low-fat product.
But not all full-fat dairy is created equal. Let’s talk about how to choose the healthiest type of full-fat dairy.
How to Find High-Quality Full-Fat Dairy
While full-fat dairy products provide an array of rich benefits, that doesn’t mean you get a free pass to over-indulge. Your overall health is impacted by a wide range of factors – your diet, how much exercise you get on a regular basis, your age, your mental and emotional health, and so on. Dairy is just one small (but delicious!) piece of the pie.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your dairy products keep these guidelines in mind:
- Raw dairy is always best. Although not available in every state, if you can find a source for raw dairy, straight from the cow, your body, brain, muscles and every other part of you will be sooooo happy! Many states have cow-share programs for consumers to participate in. Check out RealMilk to connect with local farmers to purchase raw, full-fat dairy in your state.
- Know what “full-fat” means. Eating full-fat dairy doesn’t mean gorging on an extra-large bowl of ice cream. It means you’re eating the right kind of fat that naturally comes with the dairy – i.e. straight from the cow. But it goes without saying that serving sizes are still worth watching.
- Go for grass-fed and organic full-fat dairy. If you can’t find raw milk, look for organic milk from grass-fed cows as an alternative option. Grass-fed milk contains greater amounts of nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Organic milk reduces your risk of harmful toxins like growth hormones or pesticides.
When it comes to dairy, quality matters. So, whenever possible, choose the highest-quality options you can find.
Note: If you suspect that dairy doesn’t do your body good, you should avoid it. However, if you’ve had trouble with pasteurized dairy in the past, you may find that raw, full-fat dairy isn’t a problem. If you’d like more information or have questions, call our office and we’d be happy to help.
Enjoy Full-Fat Dairy to Its Fullest
If you’re worried about the impact of full-fat dairy on your waistline, remember that fat doesn’t make you fat – refined carbs do. So while raw, full-fat dairy is, in our opinion, a superfood in its own right, you may want to consider it a viable dietary option.
A bowl full of sugar-laden ice cream, even if it’s rich in fat, isn’t a great option. Instead, reach for whole-milk yogurt or kefir. You can even enjoy a little raw cheese with nuts or fruit as a far more nutritious option when it comes to reaping the benefits of dairy in your diet.