‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dairy Products: To Fat or Not To Fat?

In the news recently, the dairy debate has re-emerged. Headlines proposing arguments for and against full fat vs low fat dairy and the reverse. So which is right? Is one better then the other? Today we will explore dairy fat and calcium in the weight loss context. Grab a chunk of cheese and glass of cow juice while we milk this topic for all it's worth.

Dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter etc) come from mammal milk. Predominately, dairy in the western world comes from cows. Though there are cheeses and milks available that are made from sheep, goat, yak, camel, water buffalo, reindeer and horse milk.

What are the health benefits of dairy? There are quite a few! Dairy carries many nutrients that are beneficial to humans. Most people know dairy is rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein. It also contains riboflavin (vitamin B2; important in red blood cell production), phosphorus, vitamins A and B12 and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5; helps our bodies utilise carbohydrates, protein and fats). There is no shortage of benefits for putting dairy into our pie holes.

Even with all the vitamins and minerals provided by dairy, the dark side is that full fat dairy (FFD) also contains a fair bit of fat (in the form of saturated fat) and cholesterol. Both of these can lead to health problems if consumed in excess and not part of a balanced diet.

A recent study investigated how a group of overweight adults changed their dairy eating patterns following nutrition counseling from a dietitian. The dietitian recommended switching from FFD to low fat dairy (LFD).

The results uncovered interesting diet changes, and what's more is how these differed between males and females. Females tended to:
  • Replace full fat milk with low fat milk
  • Increase yoghurt consumption
  • Reduce intake of full fat cheese, but tended not to replace it with low fat cheese (they largely removed cheese from their diet)
In the female cohort, there was no significant decrease in energy/calories from dairy, likely because of the increase in yoghurt. Males on the other hand, decreased the amount of dairy they ate altogether. So it is no surprise their energy/calorie intake from dairy decreased.

What does this mean? A couple of things:
  • The decrease in dairy noted in males lead to a significant decrease in their calcium intake
  • Female calcium intake did not significantly change
Overall, the calcium and dairy intake pre and post dietitian intervention were well below the daily recommended amount. Based on this, the take home messages and best tips are:
  • Calcium is very important for maintaining strength and integrity of teeth and bones, which prevents the development of osteoporosis later in life
  • Dairy products contain many vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for health
  • Choosing reduced fat dairy products are preferable for day to day eating to prevent weight gain and unnecessarily high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol
  • If you're one of the many people who can happily replace full fat yoghurt and milk with the low fat variants but can't stomach low fat cheese, eating a serve (Fig 1) of full fat cheese ~3 times per week is quite an acceptable compromise
  • Guidelines recommend choosing 3 serves (Fig 1) of reduced fat dairy daily
Dairy has good snack-ability because it is high in protein which will help keep you full - plus all the other aforementioned goodies. So really, swapping out the full fat stuff for the reduced fat stuff means you can continue enjoying dairy and all it benefits. It also gives you a couple of easy snacks to put in your pie hole each day.

One serve is: 1 cup milk, 200g or 3/4 cup of yoghurt, 2 slices or 40g of cheese.

Figure 1: Serves of dairy products, adapted from the 'Healthy Eating for Adults' brochure, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Department of Health and Aging (DoHA), Australian Government

 Comments:

I love dairy! But I'm lactose intolerant so I mostly avoid it... :(
---------------
Hi Beckett, thanks for your comment.

Many people have trouble digesting lactose. Lactose intolerance (LI) is caused by the absence of the enzyme 'lactase' that breaks down the sugar 'lactose' (found in dairy) into glucose and galactose.

There are a few alternatives and tips for those with LI who do want to eat dairy:
- Lactose free milk, has the enzyme already added to the milk
- Harder cheeses; the harder the cheese the less lactose it has eg: Parmesan and aged cheeses
- Older (but not expired) yoghurt, eating yoghurt closer to the used by date means the bacteria in the yoghurt (that help our digestive system) have a chance to eat and break down the lactose before we eat it
- Lactase pills are available for purchase to take with dairy. They prevent LI symptoms like gas/bloating/diarrhea. Buying the generic pills are more cost effective compared with the name brands

4 comments:

  1. I love dairy! But I'm lactose intolerant so I mostly avoid it... :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beckett, thanks for your comment.

      Many people have trouble digesting lactose. Lactose intolerance (LI) is caused by the absence of the enzyme 'lactase' that breaks down the sugar 'lactose' (found in dairy) into glucose and galactose.

      There are a few alternatives and tips for those with LI who do want to eat dairy:
      - Lactose free milk, has the enzyme already added to the milk
      - Harder cheeses; the harder the cheese the less lactose it has eg: Parmesan and aged cheeses
      - Older (but not expired) yoghurt, eating yoghurt closer to the used by date means the bacteria in the yoghurt (that help our digestive system) have a chance to eat and break down the lactose before we eat it
      - Lactase pills are available for purchase to take with dairy. They prevent LI symptoms like gas/bloating/diarrhea. Buying the generic pills are more cost effective compared with the name brands

      Delete
  2. Thanks for share and nice blog

    ReplyDelete