Twenty-nine million folks here in the United States alone—that’s well over 9 percent of us—have type-2 diabetes.
There have been three million cases diagnosed in the last six years.
And the epidemic doesn’t show any significant signs of slowing, with 86 million people with pre-diabetes waiting in the wings to get their own devastating diagnosis.
That is unless they do something soon to turn the tide.
Diabetes wreaks havoc on our bodies. Out of control blood sugar can lead to widespread destruction including kidney, blood vessel, eye, gum, teeth, heart and neurological damage.
According to the American Diabetes Association, adults with diabetes experience greater risk for all of these conditions:2
|71 percent of people with diabetes have high blood pressure|
|65 percent of folkswith diabetes have high cholesterol levels|
|Death from heart disease is 1.7 times greater than those without diabetes|
|Hospitalization for heart attack was 1.8 percent higher than those without diabetes|
|28.5 percent of people over 40 years are diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy (eye disease) that may result in loss of vision|
|44 percent of all new cases of kidney failure are linked to diabetes|
Pick full fat dairy and watch your diabetes risk fall
Since the late 1950s we’ve been told we should eat low fat foods and low fat dairy. But the truth is it was a single research study, performed by an economist (yes, really), that set us on this wrong path. The economist’s flawed conclusion was that heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol levels were all caused by a high-fat diet.3
Both before that flawed research, and since, other well-designed and peer-reviewed studies have refuted those conclusions.
Unfortunately that message hasn’t filtered down to some of the organizations that matter the most. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association all continue to advocate the use of a low-fat diet with fat free or low fat dairy products.4,5,6
However, a recent study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation recommends something entirely different.7
Starting in 1989, and continuing for two decades, researchers followed over 3,000 participants in a study linking full fat dairy products with a reduced risk of diabetes and better weight-management outcomes.8
Researchers confirmed the health of the study participants based on blood tests, questionnaires and current medications. Initially all participants were free of diabetes or pre-diabetes blood markers.
Researchers found a reduced risk for developing diabetes in two separate groups when the participants ate full fat dairy products instead of low fat dairy.
This study doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between full-fat dairy and a reduced risk of diabetes of course, but it does build on other studies that suggest full-fat dairy products could be the key to maintaining your weight and reducing your risk of diabetes.
Singing the PRAISES of saturated fat
Soon after the initial flawed research encouraging low-fat diets was published in the 1950s, President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while in office. His doctors placed him on a very restricted low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
When he first had his heart attack his cholesterol was 165 and by the time he left office it had skyrocketed to 259.9
President Lyndon Johnson also suffered a heart attack, was placed on a low-fat diet and continued to suffer from ill health. Only after beginning to eat beef grown on his ranch did President Johnson’s cholesterol begin to normalize and his heart health improve.
Research study after study continues to confirm what your body inherently knows to be true: saturated fats are not the evil foods they were once advertised to be.
Studies have found that eating a diet high in healthy fats and low in non-vegetable carbs improves insulin sensitivity and fasting blood glucose,10 leads to better stabilization of A1C blood test in individuals who had diabetes,11 and, in one study, also showed a reduction or elimination of medication to treat diabetes in 90 percent of the participants.12
Saturated fats also help you feel more feel, which means you eat less, lose weight and have a far easier time maintaining your weight.13 Even better, much of the weight you shed eating saturated fats is the particularly dangerous belly fat known as visceral fat.14
Visceral fat increases your risk of…
- heart disease,
- breast cancer,
- colorectal cancer
- and dementia.
Pus a diet higher in healthy saturated fats increases your high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or so-called good cholesterol, which protects your heart and blood vessels.15,16,17
Not all dairy is created equal
You can get healthy saturated fats from a variety of sources including full fat dairy products. But, the truth is, not all dairy products are created equal.
Cows were once raised on family farms and milked each morning and evening for the family’s meals. However, as more folks sold their farms and moved into the cities, they brought their cows with them. Naturally there was a shift in the cow’s diet and environment and—as a result—their milk.
The city cows were commonly housed in or near local distilleries built to make rum after an embargo on the import of Jamaican Rum. The by-product of grains from the manufacture of rum became a cheap and common food source for the cattle and the natural bacterial growth in the milk changed for the worse.
The reduced quality of the milk was compounded by the dirty conditions in which the cows were kept and milked. This was a time in history when typhoid was a common infection and the basic understanding of germs was still decades away, discovered by Louis Pasteur in the early 1860s.
It wasn’t until the early 1890s when Dr. Henry Coit was able to form the Medical Milk Commission that mandated the conditions under which milk was produced, called certified raw milk. This happened two years after the death of his son from contaminated milk.
At around the same time, Nathan Straus, who also lost a child to contaminated milk, lobbied hard for the pasteurization of milk products. Nathan Straus was a co-owner of R.H. Macy (later just Macy’s Department Stores) and Abraham & Straus.
He used his considerable influence and financial backing to subsidize the first of many depots where families could purchase low-cost pasteurized milk.
The problem with factory farm feedlot milk
Today, most milk is produced in large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). In these environments the cows are crowded into small spaces, they don’t receive sunlight, they’re fed genetically modified grains and soy products and they stand in each other’s excrement all day.
As you can imagine, these overcrowded and unsanitary conditions can easily lead to illness. So to keep infection from raging though their herds like wildfire, these corporate operations give the animals antibiotics. The cows are also given steroids to boost their milk production.
Drinking milk produced in these feedlot conditions would be dangerous, so the milk must be pasteurized in order to be safe to drink. Unfortunately, the process of pasteurization kills most of the healthy enzymes and nutrients.
For skim milk the butterfat is then removed. But without that butterfat, your body can’t absorb any fat-soluble vitamins that remain. The butterfat is also the best source of preformed vitamin A. And manufacturers add a synthetic form of vitamin D to replace the vitamin D that’s removed with butterfat.
Although pasteurization was originally initiated to reduce the number of infections and illnesses from contaminated milk, the ability to produce clean milk using better techniques now allows most countries in Europe to dispense raw milk even in vending machines.
Raw versus pasteurized milk
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Agriculture Department insist that raw milk will increase your risk of death and disease, but Europe isn’t experiencing this issue. In fact, research by Dr. Ted Beals found you are actually 35,000 times more likely to get sick from any other food than raw milk.18
Here’s another way of looking at the difference between raw milk and pasteurized products. The pasteurized product is heat treated to kill bacteria that’s in the milk because of the conditions in which the cows live. So you’re drinking milk loaded with dead bacteria. Although killed, the protein molecules of the bacteria are not removed.
Your body recognizes the foreign proteins and it increases the likelihood you’ll suffer from allergic response as your body prepares to fight. On the other hand, raw unpasteurized milk produced under clean conditions from grass-fed cows contains whey protein that stabilizes those same fighting cells in your body and reduces the allergic effect that some people experience.
Raise the healthy fats in your diet
The message from the research is to increase the amount of healthy, saturated fats in your diet every day. Reduce the amount of non-vegetable carbohydrates each day and replace those with highly nutritious and always delicious foods higher in saturated fats.
Saturated fats, such as organic butter from grass-fed cows, virgin coconut oil and raw whole milk, provide your body and brain with the nutrients needed for optimal health. They don’t make you fat or increase your bad cholesterol levels. On the contrary, they help improve your cardiovascular health, reduce your appetite, help you maintain your weight and improve your insulin sensitivity.
In fact, your body can’t function its best without saturated fats. These molecules are essential for the formation of cell membranes and as food for your brain. They also support your immune system and play an important role in the production and function of your hormones.
Some examples of foods high in healthy fats include:
|Organic, grass-fed meat|
|Raw, grass-fed dairy products|
|Olives and Olive Oil|
|Unheated organic nut oils|
The real dietary villains are carbohydrates such as sugars, grains and fructose. Once metabolized in your body they can increase your triglycerides, your body’s inflammatory response and the amount of fat your body produces. It’s continuing to choose simple carbs that’s led to the rising numbers of people suffering from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
So should YOU become a milk drinker?
Truthfully many folks are allergic to milk proteins and shouldn’t eat dairy regardless of whether it’s raw or pasteurized. Additionally, if you’re insulin resistant, you may be better off avoiding raw and pasteurized milk, as it contains the dairy sugar lactose, which can contribute insulin/leptin resistance.
However, if you’re healthy and want to drink milk, raw milk chosen from a high-quality source is generally superior in nutrition and flavor. It will also help to decrease the likelihood of insulin spikes from the milk sugar, courtesy of the thick layer of cream on top.
NPR April 18, 2016
Maine News Online April 10, 2016
Rodale Wellness April 11, 2016
New Hope Network February 21, 2016
1 Prevention, C. (2016). CDC Features – Diabetes Latest. Cdc.gov. Retrieved 23 April 2016
2 Statistics About Diabetes. (2016). American Diabetes Association. Retrieved 23 April 2016
3 Seven Countries Study « Heart Attack Prevention. (2016). Epi.umn.edu. Retrieved 27 April 2016
4 The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. (2016). Heart.org.
5 Fats. (2016). American Diabetes Association. Retrieved 23 April 2016
6 Nutritional Guidelines for Reducing Your Risk of Cancer. (2004). American Cancer Society.
7 Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus Among US Men and Women in Two Large Prospective Cohorts
8 The Full-Fat Paradox: Dairy Fat Linked To Lower Diabetes Risk. (2016). NPR.org
9 Forget What You Know About Saturated Fat | Dr Terry Simpson. Yourdoctorsorders.com
10 A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity — NEJM. (2016). New England Journal of Medicine
11 Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1), 36
12 The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus
13 The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms. – PubMed – NCBI.
14 Volek, J., Sharman, M., Gómez, A., Judelson, D., Rubin, M., & Watson, G. et al. (2004).
15 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 77(5), 1146-1155
16 Effect of dietary fatty acids on serum lipids and lipoproteins. A meta-analysis of 27 trials. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
17 Prediction of Coronary Heart Disease Using Risk Factor Categories. Circulation, 97(18), 1837-1847
18 Those Pathogens, What You Should Know – A Campaign for Real Milk. A Campaign for Real Milk. Retrieved 23 April 2016
New York Times bestselling author Dr. Mercola graduated from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982. And while osteopaths or D.O.s are licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery just like medical doctors (M.D.s), they bring something extra to the practice of medicine.
Osteopathic physicians practice a "whole person" approach to medicine, treating the entire person — rather than just the symptoms. Focusing on preventive health care, D.O.s help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness, but help prevent it too.
Dr. Mercola is passionate about natural medicine and strongly believes that the current medical system is largely manipulated and controlled by large corporations whose primary focus is profit. His website, Mercola.com, which started as a small hobby interest in 1997, has now grown to today’s number one natural health website educating and empowering millions to take back the control over their own health.
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