Could low-fat milk be worse for you than whole milk?

TheGuardian: Could low-fat be worse for you than whole milk?

Clearly the answer is yes, and expert after expert line up in the article to say goodbye to the outdated fear of saturated fat.

Unfortunately the article ends with a silly quote from Marion Nestle. “It does not matter” what milk you drink, she says, as long as the rest of your diet is “reasonable”. This could even be interpreted as including the common flavored milks with more sugar than soda. Nestle then tops it off with the  biggest cliché of the field.

Perhaps Nestle is feeling bad about mistakenly recommending skim milk during an entire career, I don’t know. But using that sorry excuse you can eat any garbage at any time, arguing that the rest of your diet is probably “reasonable” anyway.


  1. Apicius
    Marion Nestle is clueless about nutrition. She spews out the same garbage the other mainstream nutritionists have been spewing out for years. Here's her advice telling people to reduce saturated fat intake (including whole milk) and replace with MUFA or PUFA:
    A few months ago, she raked Nina Teicholzt over the coals for Nina's excellent expose on the unjust vilification of natural fats.
    Marion adds zero value to the nutrition debate. She is just another talking head, repeating the same speech, over and over again, like a broken record.
  2. Peter Lu
    Marion has a tendency to focus so much on portion control and calorie counting and overlooks hunger as a factor which are both fuelled by less satiating Low fat lean products and the appetite fueling high carb or high sugar products. For a "healthy" and fit individual , a cheesecake on an occasional moderate basis should be okay, but for overweight or diabetes, it's disastrous.

    What's the point of eating of eating Low fat drinks or foods only to crave more calories later ? More often than not, people give in to their hunger and reach out for the potato chips in the cupboard.

    Reply: #9
  3. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor
    Apicius and Peter, I agree key elements of Marion's nutritional views are wrong. However, I respect how she fights the soda industry.
    Reply: #7
  4. Tor H
    How to fatten pigs an people:

    Yup, skimmed milk is super healthy :)

  5. murray
    Skimmed milk is the Devil's urine.

    Skimmed milk has sugar and insulin-stimulating whey without the satiating and insulin-moderating fats. But it gets worse. Several studies have shown excess calcium is bad for bone bones and artery health. The reason seems clear. The proteins that move calcium out of soft tissue (like arteries) and into bones and teeth need to be activated and for this there needs to be plenty of fat-soluble vitamin K2 (animal form of vitamin K), balanced with fat-soluble retinol (animal form of vitamin A) and fat-soluble vitamin D3 (animal form of vitamin D). So where the whole, unhomogenized milk of grass-fed ruminants is a bone-builder and cardiovascular benefit, skimmed milk is a cost. (I am unsure about homogenization. Anything that destroys the integrity of the fat globules in the milk raises my suspicion. Unhomogenenized tastes better, so I go with that until proven otherwise.)

    I expect a big reason dieticians fob off skimmed milk is to create a market for what is left over from making cream and butter. Apparently finding a use for skimmed milk and whey runoff from making cheese is a big issue for local small-scale dairies.

    Reply: #6
  6. Nate
    Hey Murray, maybe those small dairies could add some pigs to their operations. See Tor H's comment. Also, Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm is very successful with many different animal faces on the farm.
    Reply: #8
  7. Nate
    Yeah, Bjarte, I have commented on Marion's site many times, always bouncing from complement to criticism. Though on the whole, I'm glad that Diet Doctor keeps her blog on their site.
  8. murray
    Nate, this is a limited option, at least locally. My friend sends a lot of her whey runoff to local Mennonite farms to produce whey-fed pork, but much of it gets dumped. One farmer I know has had to dump skimmed milk and whey, even though he has a commercial swine operation on his own farm. The problem is that the large commercial buyers require essentially quarantined hog barns with strictly limited feed and so the farmer cannot use the whey and skimmed milk to feed his own swine. Another farmer I know has both commercial operation swine (with quarantined barn, etc.) but also wild boars and heritage breeds of pork. He feeds the wild boars surplus black walnuts and whey from dairies. However, he makes far less profit on them. He raises them because he enjoys the farming much more. I visited the farm and his wild boars are charming, I must say. They are surprisingly athletic and are hilarious when they crunch on black walnuts. (He throws them a shovelful and they gobble them up, chewing through and spitting out the shells.)
  9. BobM
    I agree with Peter -- when I was on a (very) low fat diet, I was literally never not hungry. I could eat pasta or brown rice and beans, and be hungry 15 minutes later. I ate at least 4 times a day (had to, was too hungry to go too long, and my blood sugar was always either way high or crashing too low, not to mention my insulin was probably through the roof). By contrast, on low carb, I haven't eaten at all today and it's 5pm/1700 right now. I'll have dinner and a low carb/high fat snack, and that'll be it.

    It's very difficult to find non-homogenized milk. It's possible, but difficult. And try to find grass-fed on top of that, and you might as well raise your own cow.

  10. greensleeves21
    Marion is actually a nice lady. Along with several other LCHF folks, I met her at a book talk in San Fran. She's written, what, nearly a dozen or so? well-selling books on the conventional wisdom. It's literally her career. And she uses this prominence to fund her big program at NYU. She can't deviate from low-fat/calories count. She'd lose everything. You just can't talk sense to her or expect her to update her science.

    That aside, what's the use of applauding her on soda if she's just suggesting we all replacing it with sugary "strawberry" low-fat milk? Like many experts, she's in denial that most Americans are now pre-diabetic or diabetic as well as that all added sugars are equal. The strawberry milk is no better for you than soda, Marion. Please come clean!

    Reply: #11
  11. Apicius
    I'm having a hard time reconciling these two statements you wrote:

    "Marion is actually a nice lady."


    "she uses this prominence to fund her big program at NYU. She can't deviate from low-fat/calories count. She'd lose everything."

    Yeah right....nice lady indeed.

  12. Apicius

    Interesting piece in New York Times about adult obesity in US still rising despite all the efforts of the "experts" helping to curb it. The top "expert" of them all, Marion Nestle, is discussed in the article. Here's a quote:

    “The trend is very unfortunate and very disappointing,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “Everybody was hoping that with the decline in sugar and soda consumption, that we’d start seeing a leveling off of adult obesity.”

    Really? You mean just lobbying against the sugar and soda industry, while ignoring all other sources of carbohydrates, does not work? So I guess the "balanced" diet in a well managed "calories in calories out" diet doesn't work after all...

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