Low fat dairy is NOT a health food.

Skim milk. 1 percent. 2 percent. Half and half creamer. Skinny lattes. 

We've been brainwashed over the past few decades to believe that dairy fat is the devil.

In fact, it's safe to say that any product that is labeled "diet", "fat free" or "reduced fat" is pumped full of sugar, sweeteners and chemicals to replace the flavor. STAY AWAY FROM THESE FOODS.

Dairy is not for everyone. There are people that are sensitive or allergic to the proteins (whey and casein) in dairy. Others are highly sensitive to the sugar (lactose). Although there are plenty of people who have sensitivities to dairy and should eliminate all dairy from their diets, there are some people that can tolerate dairy just fine.

For those who can tolerate dairy, do not reach for reduced fat or skim versions. Despite what you have been told, cream, butter and whole-milk products are better for you than non-fat dairy.  

How? Some compounds that are found in high-fat dairy products have been shown to have beneficial effects. 

  • Butyrate provides energy to the cells lining the colon, inhibits inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and may prevent colonic bacteria from entering the blood stream. AKA, it improves your gut health. In fact, butyrate's anti-flammatory effect is so strong that a dose of four grams per day for eight weeks induced complete remission in a group of Chron's disease patients.  
  • Phytanic acid, one of the fatty acids in dairy fat, has been shown to reduce triglycerides, improve insulin sensitivity  and improve blood sugar regulation in animal models.. all good things that lead to support healthy body composition. In a study of 2,600 U.S. adults, another fatty acid in dairy fat, trans palmitoleic acid, was found to be associated with lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease. 
  • CLA, a natural trans fat found in dairy products, may reduce heart disease, cancer and diabetes. 
  • And lastly, dairy fat is also a good source of fat-soluble vitamins like retinol, and vitamin K (which are difficult to obtain elsewhere in a diet). 

So which dairy products should you reach for if you can tolerate dairy?

  • Whole milk (no skim or reduced fat)
  • Full fat cream (no reduced fat or half and half)
  • Full fat Greek yogurt (no fat free or reduced fat)
  • Butter or ghee (no fake butter spreads or vegetable oils)
  • Full fat cheese (no reduced fat)

Remember, if it doesn't come from the earth, has a mother or is a by-product of something that has a mother.. you probably shouldn't eat it. 

Food is the foundation of your health and performance. We place a big emphasis on finding what works for YOU at SPSC. We know everyone is different and work hard to help guide our members to perfecting their ideal diet. 

Click here to start your journey with us and stop dieting once and for all. 

-Nicole Race, Co-Owner St Pete Strength and Conditioning, home of SPSC Crossfit