Skip to Content

Refined Sugar and Me Week 36: Full-Fat Dairy, FTW!

Welcome to week 36 of our ongoing (yet intermittent) series about refined sugar & me in 2017. This week we’re finally settled into back to school, and I’m finally back on track: Down another 2 pounds from our last report three weeks ago, and 18 pounds less than from when I first started avoiding most added sugars and processed foods at the end of December 2016.

That’s an average of about a pound every two weeks, which is not dramatic, but hear me out here: Before this year I’d been creeping up steadily in the opposite direction, a couple more pounds every year since giving birth to High School Guy in… well… OK… back in 2002. A couple pounds a year doesn’t seem that bad, but gosh, those added up quickly. So, losing a pound every two weeks is actually dramatically quick when compared with the gradual creation of the problem! 🙂

What’s with the kale?

What am I loving this week? Kale from the garden — I threw together this kale sausage soup a few days ago, and am thinking kale chips are on the agenda after I pick up Mr. 10 from school this afternoon.

Full-Fat Dairy, ftw

But that’s not actually what I wanted to talk about today! Let’s start with a little light reading, such as:

  • The Case Against Low-Fat Milk is Stronger Than Ever: “But studies have found that when people reduce how much fat they eat, they tend to replace it with sugar or carbohydrates, both of which can have worse effects on insulin and diabetes risk. In the current study, Mozaffarian adjusted for the role that weight plays, and found the connection between full-fat dairy intake and lower diabetes risk remained strong independent of weight gain.”
  • A summary of an article in The Lancet, which states: “High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings.”
  • 5 Reasons to Start Eating Full-Fat Dairy, According to Science: “Let’s repeat: Fat does not make you fat. No, not even dairy fat. For instance, a 2013 review published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat full-fat dairy tend to be leaner than those who opt for low-fat versions. And in a 2016-released long-term study of 18,438 middle-aged women, consumption of high-fat dairy, but not low-fat dairy, was associated with reduced likelihood of becoming overweight through the years.”

How very… interesting! How many years have we been told to eat low-fat everything? I’ve tried low-fat diets in the past, which consistently failed for several reasons. Among these:

  • Low-fat processed foods taste like cardboard, unless you add in sugar and artificial flavors to help make up for the lack
  • Fat is filling; it takes more low-fat foods to fill you up, so you can end up consuming more calories, more refined carbs, and more sugar
  • The fat in full-fat dairy helps your body absorb the sugar in milk more slowly; full fat dairy is also lower in lactose and easier to digest.

Low-fat diets make me hungry, they make me angry, and they’ve never lasted long in this house. But now I’m coming to realize that possibly this was a failure of the diet itself, rather than a personal failure. This year, I’ve stopped worrying about dietary fat and instead started focusing on avoiding sugar, and on eating real foods rather than processed foods. I feel better than I have in years, and (see above), the weight is slowly creeping back down.

Real foods, ftw

What’s this all again pointing to? Full fat dairy for the win = real foods for the win. Homemade whipped cream from full-fat heavy cream trumps additive-laden whipped cream from a can. Butter trumps margarine. Whole shell eggs (from our backyard chickens!) trump Egg Beaters.

So, that’s me this week…

This year is all about slowly figuring out my own pitfalls, it seems like, and mine may or may not be the same as yours. How are you doing on your own healthier eating plan so far — and what have you found that helps you stay on track?

Earlier installments in the Refined Sugar and Me series

Read the whole Refined Sugar and Me series in chronological order (or catch up on any posts you might have missed!).

Valentina S.

Tuesday 26th of December 2017

I consumed and keep consuming full fat dairy products all my life and don't become overweight.


Saturday 16th of September 2017

I avoid most dairy as I am lactose intolerant. When I do eat or drink a dairy product, I get phlegm in the back of my throat (inflammation). So, very limited dairy for me. Recently, I started the Ketogenic way of eating. If you are not familiar, it is the theory that your body uses fat as fuel. It helps you lose weight. It is working! I have lost 6 lbs in 2 1/2 weeks! And, that is without exercising (long story but I slipped and fell on our boat and broke a rib and injured a ligament in my knee! I joined a Facebook Group of nearly 200,000 members. They post before and after pics and it is amazing how much weight they have lost. They also share stories on how they have gotten off Rx for high blood pressure, diabetes and other meds through dramatically reducing carbs and sugar. Healthy fat foods are filling. You wind up eating less. And yes, those who eat dairy do eat the full fat version. The trick to eating Keto is to keep your carbs and sugar very low. Once your body realizes there is no sugar or carbs left, it turns to fat as it's source of fuel. I'm doing Keto for health reasons--a lot of cancer in my family (cancer LIVES for sugar and carbs. Eliminate sugar and the cancer has no source of fuel). Not saying I won't get cancer later in life, but I'm hoping eating this way greatly reduces my chances. A plus is I'm losing the 12 lbs I put on over the summer! Eating Keto is not that hard. The hardest is avoiding sugar and carbs--but after a few days or week, you won't even crave it. Eat butter, eggs, bacon, avocado, EVOO, nuts, nut butters, veggies (green ones), and lots of water each day. You'll lose weight quickly and feel better.


Tuesday 12th of September 2017

I've read those studies, but they don't address the problems that milk fat causes me. It aggravates my cough variant asthma. I can always tell when the barista has decided this fat lady should not get skim milk in her latte, because within 2-3 minutes of the first sip, I get the non productive cough of my form of asthma, and it lasts for hours and sometimes I get pulled muscles from coughing so hard.

I dont do cream or full fat ice cream, either. (sad face)


Monday 11th of September 2017

I too have been slowly accumulating lbs over the years. I've tried "dieting" only to always feel hungry and only moving the scale 1-2 lbs before giving up and gaining it back. I started looking at the chemistry between carbs and fats. Yes, the complex carbs have a stronger structure than the simple but the structure of fat takes the body longer to breakdown giving lasting energy without that carb crash. I'll never go back to the way I used to think about dieting.


Monday 11th of September 2017

Well the other thing is I think this is more sustainable long term. Like you, I've always been hungry on any "diets" I've tried -- this is less a diet than a different way of eating, and I'm not constantly hungry.


Monday 11th of September 2017

I know a lot of people are into the carbs are bad for you, but for me it depends upon the carb. If I stick to high fiber carb such as WW bread or WW spaghetti. It fills me up and I do better. I don't do go if I eat something that has a lot of fat or sugar in it. I have eaten low fat for so long, that when I eat something which is high fat, such as something in a cream sauce, my system can't handle it, and I get sick. I love to cook though, and that helps a lot. Whole milk just turns me off too, but I go through almost a gallon of milk a week too. I drink 1% milk. I think high fat diets are not necessarily bad, as long as you limit your saturated fat, such as the Mediterranean diet does, where you eat lots of olive oil and fish, but don't eat much red meat and limit your cheese and butter. When I have Parmesan cheese, I usually only use 2 tablespoons worth, but I grate it myself. You should try the Tabatchnick soup. It is low fat, but it is really good. My favorite is the chicken noodle and the split pea soup.

I lost 15 pounds on a low fat low sugar diet, which included lots of exercise. I am in a holding pattern right now. I need to lay off the frozen yogurt, and start exercising more again. I would like to lose another 5 pounds. .

Simple Share Buttons