The news is good, but it’ll never make front page headlines. It’s about how skim milk is not very good for you. According to the article, not only may skim milk lead to weight gain, but also, that the process by which they make skim milk white (rather than that bluish tinge it used to have when I was growing up) may lead to cancer and higher cholesterol!
To turn skim milk white, “some companies fortify their product with powdered skim,” says Bob Roberts, a dairy scientist at Penn State. Powdered skim (which is also added to organic low-fat milks) is produced by spraying the liquid under heat and high pressure, a process that oxidizes the cholesterol. In animal studies, oxidized cholesterol triggers a host of biological changes, leading to plaque formation in the arteries and heart disease, Spanish researchers reported in 1996. “OCs are mutagenic and carcinogenic,” they wrote. In 1998, Australian researchers studied rabbits fed OC and found that the animals “had a 64% increase in total aortic cholesterol” despite having less cholesterol in their blood than rabbits fed natural sources of the substance. (A 2008 Chinese study with hamsters confirmed these findings.) Roberts says the amount of OC created by adding powdered skim is “not very much,” but until the effects on humans are known, it’s impossible to say what’s a safe level.
I’ve been saying for a long time that if we have an epidemic of anything (obesity, diabetes, heart disease) we need to look outside of the idea that obesity is causing anything. Obesity is a co-morbidity with other illnesses. That just means that it is there with other things. That does not mean that it causes the other conditions.
I’ve also been saying that we should look at to what happened in the 1970’s, when the “obesity epidemic” was supposed to have started. What outside conditions happened in the world to cause so many people to become fat all at once (relatively speaking). What socio-economic conditions changed. How did the availability of more food (and more processed food) in many countries contribute to a lessening of famine induced low weights? We need to look not only at our waste sizes, but also at our height (and not in a BMI way, either). As a general population, people in developed countries were obtaining adequate amounts of food. Could it be that, since our bodies don’t have to worry about having enough calories in a day, they are just growing to their fullest potential, in all directions?
Or could it be that the food we are eating is actually making us fatter? Studies are coming out that are showing some of the most highly touted artificial sweeteners (yes, I’m looking at you, Splenda) are being shown to actually make a person gain weight, rather than lose weight. I know that the debate over high fructose corn syrup rages on, but when manufacturers started including that in everything that is pre-made, we have the first incidence of the “obesity epidemic” happening. Could it just be coincidence that they both started in the 1970’s? Maybe. Who knows.
What I’m trying to say here, is that this issue is much more complicated than the “calories in, calories out” people like to believe it is. That there are many socio-economic and environmental issues that contribute to not only weight gain, but also the alleged increase in other diseases that are co-morbities with obesity. (I say alleged increase because, if you look at the CDC reports for the last few years, not only are USians living longer, but the statistics has been showing less heart attacks, strokes, or other so-called fat related illnesses as the cause of death.)
So, drink up your full fat milk (if you drink milk, that is), and don’t worry about what it’s doing to you. Most likely, it’s actually doing what the commercial says it is: Milk, it does a body good!