Farmer Portal

Nov 2014

TAKING A FRESH VIEW OF FAT

There’s never been any doubt that fat brings flavour to food, but after decades of official advice urging us to cut back on foods containing saturated fats, there is now mounting evidence that fats have been unfairly demonised and, indeed, may actually aid weight loss and be good for the heart.

So perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at fat and appreciate the flavour it brings as well as its wholesome health benefits?

Turning dietary advice on its head, a study by the British Heart Foundation earlier this year, involving scientists from Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard amongst others, looked at the results of nearly 80 studies involving more than half a million people.  Not only did they fail to find any convincing evidence that eating saturated fats leads to greater risk of heart disease, but they actually found that higher levels of some saturated fats, such as margaric acid, that are found in milk and dairy products were actually associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, Swedish researchers have discovered that eating full-fat products notably reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes.  In the study of more than 250,000 people, those who ate eight or more portions of high-fat dairy products a day had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing the condition than those who ate one portion or less.

And so the evidence builds.  A third Canadian study has found that eating dairy products such as butter and cream may be associated with lower blood pressure and blood sugar – both factors link to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.  Researchers found that people with healthier blood test results had a type of fatty acid in their blood that is commonly associated with eating dairy food.

Indeed, removing full fat foods from our diets might even be contributing to the problem as it can result in a major rise in our consumption of carbohydrates, especially sugar.  These push up our blood sugar levels which can, over time, lead to type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

Far from shunning the full-fat option, there is clearly a flaw in the science that has served as the foundation for nutritional policy for over 50 years and, the reality is, that fat doesn’t make you fat or diabetic.  Rather, obesity is fuelled mostly by the foods eaten between meals including crisps, sweet drinks and snacks – all made palatable by refined sugar or other carbohydrates.

At Meadow Foods, we’re passionate about dairy ingredients, providing quality dairy ingredients and innovations as to how they can be better used in industry.  However, even we were a little surprised to hear about the latest craze of putting butter in your coffee.  Dave Asprey, creator of Bulletproof Coffee and successful dieter, says this buttery drink provides all of the energizing benefits of a cup of coffee without the post caffeine slump.  He claims that the butter’s high-fat content will slow the time it takes for your body to metabolize the coffee’s caffeine, bringing increased energy and decreased crash.  It all makes perfect sense, so perhaps it’s time we all consider how we can add more dairy to our daily diet?