Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Down (with) the Grocery Aisle - Part 4: Dairy

The dairy section can be tricky. There are many commercials out that push dairy as your sole source of calcium or protein. And then there are people on the other side who are needlessly afraid of dairy because there is "fat" in all dairy products. Today, we'll uncover the truth about dairy products.

Plain Yogurt + Fresh Fruit = Quality Snack
Lets start with milk. Whole milk is a very complete food. Most infants are raised on breast milk... and not the 2% kind either. Ask any doctor and 9 out of 10 will say that breast milk is the best source of vitamins, minerals, protein and fat for children. 

Most of you out there don't have a problem with the vitamins, minerals or protein. It's that other thing you're afraid of. But you have to understand that fat plays a very important role in our bodies. First and foremost, vitamins A, D, E, & K are all fat soluble vitamins. This means that you're body needs fat to transport these vitamins from the intestines into the blood stream.
Another function of fat is that it helps to maintain the integrity of our nervous system. 

Whole Milk Nutrition Label
But getting back to dairy, milk is as a complete food as you are going to find. My recommendation is 2% milk although full fat milk is only 3.25% fat. As you can see to the left, whole milk has 5g of saturated fat in 1 serving. 2% milk has 3g of saturated fat per serving. 

So either whole or 2% milk will be of benefit but fat-free milk will not do you much good as the vitamins A and D have to be added in because in the process of removing the fat, much of the vitamin A and D were also removed, and subsequently replaced with synthetic vitamins which, as I have mentioned in past posts, do not absorb nearly as well as natural forms of the vitamins.

Milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese are all great sources of protein. Why? Because they come from an animal source. Most of the foods we eat from an animal source are great sources of protein.

Most yogurts and cottage cheeses are an excellent choice. The one thing you must remember is to check for sugar when they are mixed with fruit. Many yogurt cups have the "fruit on the bottom." Often times sugar is added to yogurt to make it sweeter.

You do not want to take in any extra sugar. Unless you are about to run a marathon, participate in a pro football, hockey or basketball game you do not need extra sugar. Be sure to check the ingredients list. If "sugar" or "glucose" or any other "-ose" is in the ingredients list, you need to put it down and find another yogurt that does not add any sugar.

Cottage cheese is a great snack when paired with fruit as well. This creates a very well balanced meal with fat, fruit, protein and fiber all in one quick bite to eat. Combine with blue berries, pineapple or peaches and you have an awesome food that works very well to preserve muscle and help burn fat.

As for block cheese, keep this one thing in mind - THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "AMERICAN CHEESE." American cheese is highly processed and you might as well just eat it straight from the can. Again, check the ingredients list. If you find anything other than milk, enzymes and perhaps salt you really need to rethink whether or not you should be eating it. 

In summary, when it comes to dairy refer to the KISS principle - Keep it Super Simple. Milk products are fine the way they are. They do not require any additives to make it tasty. And anything that is added is going to be in attempt to sweeten it up.

1 comment:

courtneyb said...

Any thoughts on soy milk & soy yogurt? I've been doing both for some time now..

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