Science Backs Up My Mom (well, when it comes to dairy it does)

Last night I had a conversation about fats in milk … the other person and I were in agreement that full-fat milk, cream cheese, yogurt, etc. tastes so much better than the low-fat or fat-free versions.  I added that we were taught in my family that it’s okay to eat/drink full-fat dairy as long as it was in moderation.  They said they were as well– they were Greek. My family is from New Zealand and Germany. We were wondering if that was one reason, we stuck with the cultural norm.  When I was growing up (and for long after) everyone around us (here in the US) was saying you needed to eat/drink low-fat dairy.  My kids only have low-fat milks at school, where there is no choice. 

Today, while spreading organic butter onto one son’s bagel and full-fat cream cheese on another, I heard on the radio about the latest studies (in a string of recent studies with similar outcomes) that those who consume full-fat dairy are less obese and also do not have higher incidence of heart disease than those who eat/drink low-fat or no-fat dairy.  

“Whatever the mechanism, this association between higher dairy fat and lower body weight appears to hold up in children, too.

As we reported last year, a study of children published in the Archives Of Diseases in Childhood, a sister publication of the British Medical Journal, concluded that low-fat milk was associated with more weight gain over time.” 

It’s what I’ve been saying for years, with only anecdotal evidence, but now science is backing up the beliefs my parents and grandparents passed on to me.

One point made in our conversation last night was that if you look at the ingredient list on those low-fat dairy packages, you notice that there is often added sugar and complex artificial additives to try to make it taste like full-fat dairy.  I remember my mother once, by mistake, bought fat-free cream cheese.  I put it on my bagel and was horribly shocked when I took a bite!  It tasted like plastic! Ick!  I thought it was off/bad – but it was just fat-free.  Think about it, fat-free cream cheese is an oxymoron.  Cream=fat.  Fat-free cream?  Hmm.

A fairly new snack/dessert my eldest two kids are absolutely loving is Greek yogurt with local honey. It’s hard to find full-fat, but I’ll be making my own this week. I buy the Fage 2% plain yogurt. 

Greek yogurt drizzled with local honey.

2% Greek yogurt drizzled with local honey.

The probiotics in yogurt is great for the immune system as is honey!  And if you eat local honey there’s a side benefit– reduced seasonal allergies. (Science still has to prove this one.)

So, if your family does consume dairy– go ahead and buy your kids and yourself the full-fat dairy.  Don’t be afraid. Don’t feel guilty.  Be confident you’re making the right choice. 

Now, to get the schools up-to-date with the science!

NYC GOV: NYC Restaurant Voluntarily Adopts City’s Sugary Beverage Portion Size Limit


NYC GOV: NYC Restaurant Voluntarily Adopts City’s Sugary Beverage Portion Size Limit

Crying is not the end of the world.

I recently received a complimentary copy of a book from a publisher. It was about getting kids to eat without crying. I don’t know if they expected me to blog about it, but much of what I read in there was against my own methods/beliefs. I’m not naming the book because I don’t want to put the author down (after all, she is trying to get kids to eat well) or say that there aren’t many valid points, but I just don’t see what’s so awful about crying occasionally.

Of course, we don’t want our kids to cry. For one it grates on our nerves, but also we don’t like having our kids distressed. I just won’t give in to the cries over a dish just to make them stop. It sets a precedent—they’ll learn to cry to get out of things they don’t want to do or like, even if it’s good for them. I don’t try to make my kids cry (remember, I don’t like to hear it) but I just don’t avoid it. I want them to eat well. If they cry because they don’t like what they’re served without even trying it— well, sorry, that’s the meal and that’s what we’re eating. It’s not like I’m a hard ass all the time. I will often make them meals that they love and do try to please them. I want my kids to be happy. I just think sometimes people are so afraid of crying that they’ll do anything to avoid it— similarly giving in to the food battles just to get them to eat. If they’re really hungry they will eat. If they would just stop crying and try the food, they might find that they like it.

Now what I do do is make healthy and tasty foods. I know most of the time that they will enjoy it if given a chance to taste it. It happens most often with my middle son. I don’t know why he continues to cry when he sees a dish that is new to him and he thinks he won’t like, but he does. He will cry for a little time, realize that we’re not budging (as in making him an alternative meal) and then eat. So often to the bottom of the bowl or until his plate is clean. And when he’s eaten— he’s happy. No signs of having been upset left over from the beginning. I love it when they enjoy their meal.

So, don’t worry about an occasional tear. Do the right thing by them and teach them to eat healthfully. They’ll be better for it than if they’re given whatever they want to eat. Look at these statistics. And, they will learn to stop crying (eventually) and just try other means of getting out of things.