Category Archives: Fats and Oils

Will skim milk make you fat?

After sifting through the research (you have to read the fine lines!!) this is what I found.

1.  Studies show that children consuming lowfat or skim milk were heavier then those consuming whole milk.  However, they do not know why.  It is suggested that possibly those children drinking the lowfat milk were already heavier in the first place.  Another reason pointed out may be that whole milk which is higher in fat provided more satiety so less snacking on other foods (8 grams of fat per 1 cup of whole milk vs 5 grams for 2% vs 2.5 grams for 1% and 0 grams fat for skim).  Also, at age 2 consuming more diary products or switching from whole milk to lowfat milk did not prevent overweight in early childhood.

Here are the studies that pointed out these findings

My take away point:  If you are drinking lowfat or skim milk, ask yourself what are you snacking on?  Are they processed foods?  Are they high in sugar?  Are they empty calories?  etc…..  Again remember lowfat or skim milk is still more processed then whole milk which means man tampered with the natural design.  Is it really better?  Will your cravings for carbs and sugar stop if you increase the good fats in your diet?  Probably. Such as butter, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, tallow….   Drinking skim milk will not make your weight drop–the secret lies in the whole balance of your diet.  You need the most nutritious form of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates!

2.  A study shows that drinking excess milk causes weight gain.  Is it the fat content?  The calcium content?  The lowfat milk?  The whole milk?  They found it had nothing to do with the fat content because skim, 1%,and  calcium were associated with the weight gain.  Their conclusion was that it is the excess calories provided from milk.

Here is that study:

My take away point:  Too much milk is not a good thing.  But is really too much of anything good for you?   But aren’t I supposed to “Drink milk for your bones!  You need the calcium!!”  Often what is not thought of is the source of the diary.  Unless it is raw milk, the calcium will not be assimilated into your bones properly due to pasteurization destroying beneficial enzymes.

3.  What’s up with the processing of skim milk?   Does skim milk cause heart disease?  Why do they add skim milk powder to nonfat milk but don’t put it on the label?  Let’s answer those questions.  Simply skim milk has all the fat taken away and synthetic vitamin A and D3 is added.  Homogenization is done to disperse the fat in milk and the altered fat is possibly thought to contribute to increased allergenicity of homogenized milk due to the increased proportions of whey and casein proteins. (claims that homogenization may cause atherosclerosis have not been widely supported or proven see article here).  Skim milk however does not have fat that would be affected by the homogenization process.  Dairy companies are not required to add skim milk powder to nonfat milk anymore so there is no worry about the very small amounts of oxidized cholesterol.  If they do, then they have to put it on the ingredient label.

My take away point:  Skim milk has no fat so there is no worry about homogenization issues.  It has no cholesterol so one does not have to worry about the adverse effects of processed cholesterol.  But see that’s the problem with skim milk–it has no fat or cholesterol.  Its been depleted of the naturally occurring fat soluble vitamins A D E and K which are only found in fat.  Also, the needed components of your cell membranes  are made from your dietary fat, equally saturated fats and unsaturated fats.  Remember every organ from your skin to your brain is made up of cells and weak cell membranes mean a weak and diseased prone body.  If you are drinking skim milk are you getting those needed nutrients elsewhere?  If you can find raw milk, it really is the way to go.

4.  Are saturated fats bad? No, they do not increase your risk of heart disease like once thought.  In fact there are many benefits to saturated fats. They act as carriers for the fat soluble vitamins: A D E and K.  Saturated fats provide the components for building healthy cell membranes and hormones as well as helping the absorption of minerals.

Find out 7 Reasons to Eat Saturated Fat here
Saturated fat is the group name for the different types of saturated fatty acids found in a variety of foods.  Here is a brief list of the main saturated fatty acid in specific foods:  lauric (coconut oil, breastmilk, and palm kernel oil), myrstic (cow milk and dairy products), palmitic (palm oil and meat and tallow), stearic (meat),  butyric (butter), and caprylic (coconut oil and palm oil).

A sample few of the commonly known fatty acids

  • lauric: increases HDL cholestrol, may reduce acne, inconclusive effects on heart disease
  • myrstic: immunity and stabilize proteins
  • palmitic:  ongoing studies (2013 review)
  • stearic: lower LDL cholesterol
  • butyric: anti cancer for colon and promotes healthy colon epithelial cells and
  • caprylic: anti microbial and anti fungal

My take away point:  The different types of saturated fatty acids are beneficial to human health and needed as part of a balanced nutritious diet.  A 2014 study finds that “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”

Brief Overview of the Mediterranean Diet

Disclaimer:  I don’t promote eating one type of diet.  I recommend eating healthy foods grown or raised the traditional way.   I AM interested in digging deeper in any diet that does not use processed foods.  According to The Olive Oil Times article on The Mediterranean Diet Revisited, The Mediterranean Diet consists of:

  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Yogurt
  • Herbs and Spices

greekfoodguideLet’s break some of this down.   In the Mediterranean Diet, 40% of its calories come from fat, mainly in the form of olive oil.  Oh my 40%!!!???    “Don’t be afraid of olive oil, it actually protects you.” Remember to always ask yourself, “What type of fat am I eating?”  The old adage of calories in equals calories out holds true for maintaining a healthy weight.  Basically, you must exercise and not eat an excess of calories, however, it does benefit you to also eat “healthy” calories.  I like to think of it this way, “Your body does not use 500 calories of processed food and 500 calories of wholesome, earth born foods the same way.”  Remember there was an art to preparing traditional foods and using nutritional ingredients the proper way for a body to be strong and active.  Let’s tap into the past!

Belly Fat: What’s up with coconut oil?

Coconut oil as been found to reduce abdominal fat and waist circumference. 

A study showed that two groups were given either 30 grams (2 TB) of coconut oil or soybean oil each day over a 4 month period.  The coconut oil group had a decrease in waist circumference,  increase in HDL (good cholesterol), and decrease in LDL/HDL ratio when compared to the soybean oil group. (too much LDL can cause heart disease).  Both groups did loose total weight but the soybean oil group actually had a slight increase in abdominal weight1.  Another study compared two groups eating long chain fats to medium chain fats.  The group that ate the medium chain fats had lower: BMI, waist and hip circumference, subcutaneous and visceral fat, and total body fat.  Blood triglycerides were also lower.2  Another study using virgin coconut oil showed decreased waist circumference only.3

Why does coconut oil decrease abdominal fat?  It has to do with the medium chain fats that make up coconut oil. These fats are transported directly and quickly from the blood to the liver then to your cell’s mitochondria (the cell’s energy producing powerhouse).  Your cells such as those in your muscles are able to burn energy from the medium chain fats very efficiently.   Medium chain fats actually help increase your energy expenditure and the burning of fat or in other words your metabolism is increased.4,5

Subcutaneous fat is just below your skin while visceral fat is located in the abdominal region and between organs.    Too much visceral fat can be a problem leading to increase risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer.6 

A little side note:  Coconut oil is a fat and albeit a healthy one, it still is high in calories.  Its best to not add coconut oil to your diet but replace some of your daily fats with it.

Questions to ask your self:  Have you had your waist circumference measured measured lately?  How can you incorporate coconut oil healthily into your daily eating habits?


1.  Assuncao ML, et. al.  Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obestiy. Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601.
2. Xue C, et al.  Consumption of medicum and long chain triacylglycerols decreases body fat and blood triglyceride in Chinese hypertriglyceridemic subjects.  Eur J Clin Nutr.  2009.  Jul; 63(7): 879-86.
3. Kai ML, et al.  An open label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing viseral adiposity.  ISRN Pharmacol. 2011.
4.  Papamandjaris AA, et al.  Medium chain fatty acid metabolism and energy expenditure: obesity treatment implications.  Life Sci. 1998. 62(14):1203-15.
5. St-Onge MP and Jones PJ.  Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium chain triglyceride consumption relative to long chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue.  Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord.  2003. Dec;27(12):1565-71.
6.  Klein, Samuel, The case for visceral fat: argument for the defense. J Clin Invest. 2004. 113:11

Eggs 101: What are the best types of Eggs to buy?

Eggs from pasture raised chickens wins for the best choice.  Yes, chickens were created to eat bugs and greens off the land which is partly why roaming free on a pasture makes their eggs higher in key nutrients.  Here are two nutrients highlighted: Omega-3 fatty acids are formed in the chloroplast of green leafs so chickens feeding off of the plants in the fields increase the content of that under consumed fatty acid and pass it onto their eggs.  Pastured chicken eggs also have ” 3-6  times more Vitamin D then hens raised in confinement.”Well that’s because they walk around in the sunshine all day.

One study1 found that when compared to commercial eggs, pastured eggs had:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fats
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more Omga-3 fatty acids
  • 7 times more beta carotene

Here is more on Omega-3 fatty acids:  “Omega-3s are called “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.”1

I also found this another article that breaks down all the definitions in relation to types of eggs you can buy: pastured raised, cage free, free range, organic, and conventional (click here for article).

One must be aware of “all vegetarian diet”.  That does not mean hens were allowed free range on a pasture.

1.  Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products:

Liver is Packed Full of Nutrients

My mom was looking up a recipe for liver pate which inspired this post.  Please note that if you are taking cod liver oil its best to skip it on the same day as consuming liver.  Here are my favorite articles:

Learning to Love Liver: A Simple Liver Pate

Benefits of Eating Liver: Our most nutrient dense food

Different Ways You Can Cook Liver for It to Taste Good  You can use virgin coconut oil  for cooking in any of the recipes as its a better oil to use for cooking at high heat.  If you ever get coconut oil and it doesn’t smell like coconuts then take it back to the store to exchange.  (Trader Joes has it for a good price.  I can’t go to fifty different stores to grocery shop so ya know I am sure you can find it cheaper somewhere else.)

Why I Don’t Eat Paleo or Primal

Fats: Anti-Inflamatory and Inflamatory

I have been interested in inflammatory foods vs. anti-inflammatory foods for some time now.  I came across this write up and figure its a great read with a bonus great chart. Click here for article.

Olive oil tip reminder: only buy cold-pressed, dark glassed bottles to reduce chance of rancidity

Fermented Cod Liver Oil or Fermented Cod Live Oil Blend (produced by Green Pastures): Oh gross!!  Well research is showing the health benefits outweigh “oh gross.” Many sources say the cinnamon flavor is best including me! My two year old eats it off the spoon (crazy) as well as the others–try it mixed in with juice or cereal or applesauce.  Its a excellent source of Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K2 as well as small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that are highly bio-available to your body (meaning they are absorbed well).

Article in a Nutshell

Inflammatory Fats:

  • Oxidized:  unsaturated oils exposed to high heat or light, olive oil or seed oil used for cooking in high heat
  • Hydrogenated Oils: taking a naturally unsaturated oil and making it solid at room temperature
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids (when consumed in large amounts without the added protection of omega-3 fatty acids):  found in seeds and grains

Anti-Inflammatory Fats:

  • Natural Saturated Fats:  butter, coconut oil, ghee
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids:  wild caught fish, egg yolks of pastured chickens, meats from pastured animals

Soaking Nuts and Seeds: Tapping Into the Traditional Ways

Check out this guide about the proper way to prepare nuts and seeds in order to increase the nutrient bioavailability to your body when you eat them.

Find it here: That’s Nuts! A Complete Guide to Soaking Nuts and Seeds

The Fat dilema: whole, lowfat, nonfat?

What type of fat is best?

Whole fat, lowfat, or non fat??? That depends.  I am a big proponent of lowfat when its a recipe that has ingredients that are naturally lowfat.  Make sense?  For example, when I throw a party I make a lowfat pasta salad (easy to do gluten free as well), and I don’t throw in extra foods that would make it higher in fat then it naturally needs to be.  Lets just leave it to veggies and pasta with a small amount of olive oil.  That is what I mean by lowfat, if God intended the food to be lowfat then just leave it that way.

Let’s take milk for example.  The two things done to processed milk is homogenization (reduce and disperse the fat particles) and pasteurization (heating to a specific temperature to kill microorganisms) .  (Vitamin D and A is also added to milk but we are not discussing that here.)

When you take a food and change it from its naturally designed state always take a pause and do your research.  And know this –you can research all you want, but there generally is nothing conclusive in research unless its based on the design of nature—what was recommended one day changes in the next day in my experience.  What may be the hype today is not the hype tomorrow. I have seen a trend in research such as this.  Research always points back that the healthiest foods are: foods designed and left unchanged as you found it in nature.  And the traditional ways to prepare the fresh whole foods are the best ways for your body to utilize the nutrients.  Not a vitamin pulled out here or milk changed there.

Okay back to the milk discussion.  Unless you have access to non-homogenized whole milk, nonfat may be the way to go due to the way the fat particles are processed in the commercial whole milk.  But its not a win win situation.  Does that mean nonfat milk is better for you? No, there is a 2013 study published in JAMA Pediatrics that suggests that drinking nonfat milk could actually cause you to gain weight compared to those who drink 2% or whole milk.   This could possibly be due to the skim milk being less filling so one may compensate by eating more refined carbohydrates.  And refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic index which raises blood sugar levels and triglyceride levels.  Also, nonfat milk may have milk powder added to it.  The process in which the skim milk powder is made causes the formation of a ton of nitrates and particles of left over cholesterol to oxide and oxidized cholesterol hardens your arteries.   Here is an article in the Atlantic Times called The Controversial Life of Skim Milk that highlights some of history of skim (trim milk as the New Zealanders call it).

So raw whole milk is best but you must do your research on that and make your own decision if that is the right choice for your family.  (Note: Jimbos in California carries raw milk if you are looking to get it from a grocery store). If you opt out of dairy all together, its important to learn how to make a good bone broth and incorporate that into your meals and recipes. Or see my post about milk alternatives.

What about meats?  Grass fed, free range is best because the animal’s muscles (what you eat as meat) are not sedentary so the fat ratio and make up in the muscle is that of a active muscle not a sedentary one, making the meat healthier.  If you are not able to get grass fed, free range, then probably the leaner choice is best, and you can add your own heat stable oil in the cooking process.

I am all for whole fat fruits such as avocado, olives, and coconut and whole fat milk if it is raw or non-homogenized.  And give me a piece of free range/grass fed or game meat raised like nature intended.  And eggs?  One of the best breakfast foods out there, full of cholesterol and 5 grams of fat in the yolk.  Enjoy!!  More information on saturated fats click here.  Check out my post on A1 vs A2 milk.


Saturated Fat and Heart Disease: Fact or Fiction?

Does Saturated Fat Cause Heart Disease?

Natural and unprocessed is best–its my rule of thumb and its the way I was raised.  Thanks Mom!!

It was previously thought that a reduction in saturated fat would reduce the incidence of heart disease.  In 2010 the American Journal of Nutrition did a study on the evidence of that statement (view the abstract here).  Their conclusion was that there was no significant evidence to link saturated fat to heart disease.  The study also stated that more research was needed find out if  ingredients used to replace saturated fat had any link to heart disease namely sugars.

There has been some talk/interest of this again in 2013 but it looks like the nutrition field and those professionally involved in it were already on top of this a while ago so I wanted to point out that fact.  Also, does this mean that you can drink whole milk–think again–check out my post on homogenized milk.  Ask yourself: What’s the source and how is it processed?