"Show me what you eat and i will tell you who you are" - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
November 6, 2010 5:45 PM   Subscribe

While many government organizations are pushing a healthy lifestyle complete with a low-fat diet, one marketing group formed by the USDA, called Dairy Management, is making a case for more cheese in America's menu items.

Why? In part because of a surplus of whole milk and milk fat caused by American's choosing lower-fat milks and milk products.

Also, this tumblr.
posted by mccarty.tim (63 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Eat a litttle cheese everyday and use real butter. Find more ways to incorporate clotted cream into your diet. Never drink skim or 2%. Come one people stop stuffing your yams with crap, the secret to being fat and happy is more ice cream less Burger King.
posted by humanfont at 5:52 PM on November 6, 2010 [7 favorites]

My favourite is Lancre Blue.
posted by shinybaum at 5:58 PM on November 6, 2010 [4 favorites]

The difference between lowfat and regular dairy products is relatively trivial in caloric terms. Look how much good it's doing America to eat all that "low fat" dairy.

I had a friend in college who grew up on a farm in Oklahoma who (like me) *hated* skim milk. Whenever he saw it he would say, in a deep Oklahoma twang, "We used to call that BLUE milk on the farm, and we used to feed it to the HOGS."

Actually my own family were dairy farmers too, until 2 generations ago (for those in Minnesota, you'll know the phrase "It's the cows" -- them's my peeps). I eat whole milk cheese and whole milk every single day, and I am a perfectly healthy weight.

The real culprit in the obesity epidemic is high fructose corn syrup and other empty sources of calories. Dairy is rich in nutrients, protein, and fats your body actually needs. Some of the healthiest cultures in the world eat whole milk products regularly.

So the dairy hate is misplaced.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:03 PM on November 6, 2010 [18 favorites]

posted by mccarty.tim at 6:05 PM on November 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

Also, if people actually walked anywhere, or did any physical labor instead of sitting on the couch and staring at TV, they could eat any damn thing they wanted and still be a healthy weight.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:05 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

[entire sub-thread deleted]
posted by anigbrowl at 6:07 PM on November 6, 2010

Epon yes, but not -yesterical.

Calories in a glass of whole milk: 150
Calories in a glass of 2% "lowfat" milk: 130
Calories in a glass of 1% "skim" milk: 105

Big whoop.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:08 PM on November 6, 2010

Also, butter and margarine have exactly the same caloric value.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:09 PM on November 6, 2010

What a great contrast with the adjacent thread.

I'm at a healthy weight now in my 20s, but my diet is pretty horrifying. I probably don't have long to go before that catches up with me, and by then I won't have a taste for real food anymore.
posted by danb at 6:10 PM on November 6, 2010

There are roughly 80 calories in a glass of skim milk. 1% milk isn't skim. Skim is fat free. Big difference over whole.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:16 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well if there is a surplus, then certainly there will be lower prices on these items, right? That's the law of supply and demand, isn't it?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:20 PM on November 6, 2010

Calories shmalories. Where are the low-carb people when we need them?

[also, skim milk is vile]
posted by Namlit at 6:29 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Low-fat diets aren't healthy and the USDA food pyramid is 100% bullshit. I already know what kinds of arguments will be in this thread (including my own), but I'll just drop the data point that I eat bacon cheeseburgers literally five days a week (without the bun, of course) and am in the best shape of my life. A copious consumption of fat, primarily animal-based, has made me stronger and leaner than ever. I fucking wasted years of my life not knowing this. Don't make the same mistake I did by buying into this "heart-healthy grains" garbage.
posted by Gandhi Knoxville at 6:35 PM on November 6, 2010 [10 favorites]

I eat bacon cheeseburgers literally five days a week (without the bun, of course) and am in the best shape of my life.
Anecdote noted.
posted by lumensimus at 6:42 PM on November 6, 2010 [14 favorites]

A copious consumption of fat, primarily animal-based, has made me stronger and leaner than ever. I fucking wasted years of my life not knowing this. Don't make the same mistake I did by buying into this "heart-healthy grains" garbage.

I think there could be a lot of money in the time travel technology you developed to find out what long-term effects your diet is having on your health.
posted by threeants at 6:44 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ah there they are! And the skeptics. Welcome all around.

And if we go down the butter and cholesterol lane right away, we've had that one too: anecdotally I've never ever tried to subdue my cravings in butter, cream, and cheeses (but avoided margarine and all sorts of processed veggie fats), and my cholesterol levels are fine, thanks.

Problem with all this is obviously that individual metabolisms are so much all over the chart that little ultimate wisdom can be derived from them. What seems to be humbug, though, is the idea from the headline here. 'You put in fat you get fat', 'you put in calories and you store calories', or 'you eat sugar and you get sweet' seem all to be concepts that are in the process of being seriously challenged.
[I'm losing weight when I stop drinking beer, that's my trick; and a pity, too]
posted by Namlit at 6:47 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Boy, lemme tell ya. I eat at IHOP seven times a week, I guess unless you're counting breakfast, which'd make it fourteen. Now lemme tell you, I ain't never had no problems with my health. Sure, I can't get up into the truck like I did when I was 20, my legs look like twigs compared to my tremendous gravity well of a belly, and my suit coat fits like some sort of tragic caricature, but the lesson here is this: I get out and work every day and it suits me just fine, and all your health food crap is just that. Crap.

Prove it different.
posted by circular at 6:51 PM on November 6, 2010

Problem with all this is obviously that individual metabolisms are so much all over the chart that little ultimate wisdom can be derived from them.

I'm no expert, but more and more my opinion is that rising obesity levels come from a really complex interaction of how many people's bodies work with how we have structured our societies. Having a body that stores calories really well isn't a problem except when you subsidize corn syrup, automobiles, and have work environments that create little spikes in your stress levels all day long, every day.

The point being, there simply isn't a way to reach into that mess and make one simple adjustment. It's all snarled together, and you have to adjust a dozen things to get a different result overall. And when you have governmental agencies working at cross purposes to each other (and at cross purposes internally, as in this case), and when the overall issue remains so poorly understood, it feels even more hopeless.
posted by Forktine at 6:58 PM on November 6, 2010 [7 favorites]

this is vile. most kids in this country are from ethnic and racial groups that are most likely to be lactose intolerant or outright allergic to milk. there should have never been a policy to push onto the population one dairy option when goat, sheep or even bison is what would be more appropriate health-wise to a big chunk of the population.
posted by liza at 7:04 PM on November 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

My anecdata is that when I cut most of the cheese out of my diet (limiting pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese and crackers, mac and cheese, etc.) and restricted my butter intake, my cholesterol, which had been really high, went back to normal in about six months. Now that I've let it creep back in, my cholesterol is up again. Part of that is the exercise, but when I got regular exercise by walking, I still had to cut dairy fat back to drop cholesterol.

When I eat dairy, I generally prefer the real stuff (full-fat cheese, butter, etc.), although I do like skim milk. It's just eating it in moderation along with exercise that keeps me healthier.
posted by immlass at 7:06 PM on November 6, 2010

and that should be "lactose intolerant or outright allergic to COW milk". in my household we dont drink it at all --and soy is a vile alternative for people with multiple allergies.

after trying different kinds we've settled for goat milk. havent had a carton of cow milk in my fridge for almost 10 years.
posted by liza at 7:07 PM on November 6, 2010

You can have my (lactose-free) skim milk when you pry it out of my cold, bony (yet surprisingly strong) dead hands.
posted by bitteroldman at 7:09 PM on November 6, 2010

Yay -- personal anecdote time! I'm male, 51.

I eat cheese and whole milk every day. Bacon and eggs in some form at least three times a week, and some form of animal protein every day. I fill things out with mostly veg, and very little starch or carbs.

My BMI is a respectable 19.6, and at my last physical, my doctor told me I had the best cholesterol numbers he'd ever seen. I have no known health issues besides an inherited neurological condition (essential tremor).

(The only exercise I do is walking, but I do a lot of that because I have the most energetic dog in the universe and no yard.)

Skim milk tastes to me like the watery paint we used in kindergarten.
posted by trip and a half at 7:14 PM on November 6, 2010

Oh, and butter: I go through so much butter that I keep some in the freezer, some in the fridge, and some on the counter at all times.
posted by trip and a half at 7:21 PM on November 6, 2010

Skim milk tastes to me like the watery paint we used in kindergarten.

I loved that paint more then the paste we got at hot lunch! Skim milk, not so much.
posted by Max Power at 8:26 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think there could be a lot of money in the time travel technology you developed to find out what long-term effects your diet is having on your health.
posted by threeants at 9:44 PM on 11/6

There's no link between cholesterol intake and heart disease, if that's what you're implying; the liver generates absurd amounts of blood cholesterol even on a vegan diet.
posted by Gandhi Knoxville at 8:37 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Skim "milk" is not milk. It is milk-colored water. And not even opaque enough.

And cheese...


On my last trip to the grocery store, I bought eight kinds of cheese. Eight.
posted by marble at 8:45 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am active, fit, creeping up on middle age and firmly on the side of delicious fatty dairy products.

However, one interesting thing I learned a couple of years ago is that most cheese is very high in salt. Check the label next time you're getting a nice hunk of cheddar; you may be surprised at just how salty the stuff is.

I'm vegetarian and used to eat ungodly amounts of many varieties of cheese daily, and enjoyed low cholesterol levels. However, I did have some nasty chronic hypertension going on. Switching my consumption to low-salt cheese varieties (like swiss) cut my blood pressure down to a nice 130/85. It was quite dramatic. I felt like when I was 15 and first realized that soda made me fat.
posted by xthlc at 9:04 PM on November 6, 2010

Anecdote noted.

If you want an extensive review of nutrition research, then read the book Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. It is not a diet book, and it does not sell or give guidelines for anything. Threads like this get rather tiresome (not your fault) because this book has been out for a few years now and if anyone is truly interested in real arguments, they are readily available there like they have always been. I don't really have the patience/energy to retype the same thing over and over again, nor is something you can just sit down and explain in persuasive depth on the internet; if it was, there would not be so much doubt and nay-saying about low carb diets. The book has an extensive history of all the politics of why you've been lead to believe low-fat and low-calorie studies instead of low carb studies, and it explains the molecular biology of why eating fat does not equal storing fat, and why eating carbohydrates stores fat, and the ways in which "conservation of energy" is erroneously applied to dieting. The book goes into similar detail on exercising and cholesterol in particular -- and, spoiler alert, cholesterol is generally much better on low carb, even though low carbers ingest much more cholesterol. Chapters near the end discuss recent cancer and Alzheimers research.

In short, I'm sympathetic to your skepticism given all the bizarre history around nutrition research, especially in the U.S. I don't think anyone is weird or dumb or anything for believing in low fat or low calorie diets. It's still incorrect, though. All I can do is recommend Taubes's book and hope people read it; no one can be expected to explain several interconnected branches of science and analyze over a hundred years of the research in a post on the internet. If that's what someone sincerely wants to know, and they're not just being contrarian because they've heard otherwise but haven't done an insane amount of research on their own, that is exactly what Taubes's book accomplishes. You are much better off reading that book than hoping people on the internet will explain things, because you will not get a satisfying or thorough explanation. It's not because people are wrong or talking out their ass, it's because it really takes the hundreds of pages that Taubes used to explain all the history, research, and science.

Otherwise, well... I'd appeal to people to consider quieting down if they know deep down, they're just repeating what they think is common sense about dieting, but people will say whatever they want anyway. So object all you want. I'll be happy if just a few people read the book as a result of this thread.

I'll provide some anecdotes anyway, just because mine are dramatic: I can eat 5,000 calories a day of low-carb food and get into nearly single-digit body fat percentage (I am female, 26 years old) with only moderate exercise, and otherwise lose and stay at a very low weight with no exercise. I can go without exercising for a much longer time on low-carb without losing muscle; this is not the case on low fat or low calorie diets, where I lose strength and appearance of muscle mass quickly. This amount of calories resulting in weight loss is not an unusual result, either; studies examined in the book got similar results. Typically, my calories are more around 2,000 to 3,000 a day, and lower than 20g of carbs, though sometimes 30g.

Studies using the same amounts of calories that aren't low carb showed massive weight gain. My experience has been similar, except more pronounced: if I eat 1500 calories of a low fat or low calorie diet, I gain weight, with or without exercise -- and the weight gained is not muscle, as verified by tape measure and more sophisticated methods a few times they've been available to me. I also tried 1000 and 800 calories, and was only able to stay at about the same weight. I've tested this carefully on myself over the past eight years; I was chubby so I started doing low carb for several years and got into incredible shape, then stopped when I didn't have access to a way to cook (I get really frustrated and unhappy without variety), gained some weight, tried several versions of low fat and low calorie for a few years and gained a shitton of weight, then went back to low carb and lost nearly all the weight I'd gained within a year without exercising whatsoever. (Which isn't that unusual, either; more studies in the book, etc.)

The big argument I always hear is that people only lose weight on low carb because they're eating fewer calories, or it's all water -- both of which are thoroughly debunked not only by my experience and a ton of others', but Taubes's book on an entirely non-anecdotal level through the examination of several studies. Neither of these sources are vulnerable to any fudging to make them conform to "conservation of energy" because the differences are huge. To me, it's quite clear that if I gain weight on 1500 calories of non-low carb, and lose weight on 5,000 calories of low carb, calories are not the important thing and there's more to it than conservation of energy. I guess you could say I'm lying, or that the studies are lying.

My blood work is good either way, but better on low carb; I've gotten it taken several times on both. My cholesterol is noticeably better on low carb. (I'm not terribly surprised my blood work comes back good even on high carb, given that I'm only 26; insulin resistance takes time to build.) My blood pressure is generally a bit low on either, despite all the salt I eat, though it's negligibly higher on low carb -- up to you whether you see that as a pro or con. (Taubes addresses the negligible effect of salt on blood pressure only briefly in the book, if anyone is hoping there'd be some depth on that.) My father was in his 60s so his case showed a bigger contrast in blood work. When my father did low carb he was taken off several of his diabetes and heart medications because his condition improved so much, and his condition was quite bad prior to that so it was a dramatic change. What actually got him (and a lot of other people) in the end, was a heart medication that was mistakenly twice the dosage written on the label.
posted by Nattie at 9:08 PM on November 6, 2010 [25 favorites]

I could not stomach whole milk when I was a child. Skim, I could drink. It probably would have been best for me if we weren't forced to drink milk at all.

And don't even get me started on the chocolate milk preferred by so many of my classmates. If I'd actually liked that stuff... well, let's just say that visiting my hometown is kind of depressing when I see the difference in body type to the body type that's more common in the big city, where nutritional knowledge is just a few years ahead...
posted by amtho at 9:22 PM on November 6, 2010

I was astounded to find, when I started counting calories, how much "fatty" foods *didn't* have as compared to carb-foods. Seriously. 2/3 of the calories in a sandwich--with meat, cheese, and mayo--was the bread. I think focusing on fat is not doing us a lot of good, if we're instead chowing down on potatoes, pastas, rices, breads, etc.

I was actively dieting for a while earlier this year, during which time I discovered that, hey, it's okay to eat more meat, sauce, and cheese and less of the stuff I used to consider "filler." I stopped actively dieting but I'm still losing weight. All I did was skew my intake in favor of the more tasty foods, the ones I used to think were the Source Of All Evil.
posted by galadriel at 9:29 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I ate three kinds of cheese tonight before dinner: Piave Vecchio, Sottocenere al Tartufo and Fiore Sardo. And that was before the bruschetta with fresh mozzarella came out. Not to mention the homemade lasagna.
posted by emelenjr at 9:29 PM on November 6, 2010


posted by snwod at 9:50 PM on November 6, 2010

There is little to no actual evidence that saturated fat is bad for you or your heart. It was a reasonable hypothesis back when Ancel Keys put out his highly influential but somewhat dishonest Seven Countries Study; the McGovern report in 1977 also endorsed this hypotheses, making it as good as fact to most people, but McGovern didn't have time for the facts to come in.

Many studies now show a neutral or protective nature to saturated fats, despite lingering bias against them among many nutritionists. This is also illustrated by the many cultures that eat a lot of saturated fat but have good heart health: the French, Inuit, Tokelauans, Masai, and many others. In fact, Masai warriors are only allowed to eat flesh, blood, and milk (~6% fat!) from their cows. When they finish their warrior phase, they can eat whatever they want, including modern foods. The warriors have very little atherosclerosis and good heart health, but incidence of atherosclerotic plaques jumps to nearly 100% almost immediately after they move on: Masai and Atherosclerosis

In addition, grass-fed butter and cheese have a near optimal balance of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats and contain CLAs (natural, healthy trans fats) which have been shown to protect against cancer and possibly aid in fat burning. There are, however, potential concerns with very aged cheese, as it can contain suspect substances like tyramine which can spike blood pressure.

"Healthy substitutes" like margarine are completely awful, whether they are hydrogenated/trans or not. The vegetable oils that they are made from, besides olive, are extremely inflammatory - if you consume more than a small amount of them it will be impossible to maintain a proper daily omega-6 to omega-3 ratio without gorging on fish oil, which can produce some problems of its own. Vegetable oils also can cause a host of other problems, from obesity to osteoporosis: Dissolve your bones, then fatten yourself and your children

Here is one more study that busts the myth that butter is bad: Australian observational study

People who consumed little or no full-fat dairy had over three times the chance to die from heart failure as did those who consumed the most. Low-fat dairy, calcium, and vitamin D had no such relationship.

Here's an analysis of another study directly comparing butter and margarine: Butter vs. Margarine Showdown

And one more that really hits the "saturated fat + cholesterol = heart disease" idea in the gut: Dirty Little Secret of the Diet-Heart Hypothesis

It's time for these myths to die. Get yourself a cup of whole milk, fry up those eggs in some extra butter, and enjoy the fact that you are eating well.

Whole Health Source (written by Stephan Guyenet, who has a Ph.D in neurobiology and studies its relation to obesity) is a fantastic resource for more well-written analyses of studies like those, by the way. Be sure to click through to the studies and read them yourself.

As a bit of anecdata, I have eaten a roughly Paleolithic diet for 2.5 weeks and have lost 5 pounds while gaining muscle and not consciously restricting portions or trying to alter my weight.

posted by Earl the Polliwog at 10:03 PM on November 6, 2010 [5 favorites]

I started enjoying Muenster and The Munsters at the same early age (and a Herman Muenster picture with the full orange rind would have been funnier). And I have long referred to the radio ragester as Rush Limburger. Some of the other cheese people were excellent, but Camemberry Manilow would have been better than Camemberry White.

Now, about this milk fat thing. I've gotten quite used to Skim/Fat Free Milk, consider 1% a rich treat and whole milk way too much. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light has half the fat of regular ICBIN and Real Butter and most of the (I know, artificial) flavor, but I keep a small supply of Real Bubba on hand for specific cooking uses. Low Fat Sour Cream is always good enough but Fat Free Sour Cream is a little weird. And Fat Free Cottage Cheese is perfectly fine since I usually mix it with Pineapple or Berries. With that, in addition to skinless chicken and 15%-or-less-fat ground beef (I don't LIKE high-fat burgers as much), I have room in my regimen for the cheese I like to be a major 'splurge' item. And Costco has my favorites in 2-pound convenience packages... pre-sliced Muenster and Tillamook Cheddar and shredded Mexican Mix (Cheddar, Jack and other stuff), which I consume between monthly Costco trips. 6 pounds of cheese a month isn't too bad, is it? And yes, cutting back on the potatoes and pasta has done me as much good as any fat restriction.

However, my heart did skip a beat when I saw the "Costco Cheese e-coli Recall" headline until I realized it was "Raw Milk Gouda Cheese" which wasn't even at a tasting station on my last visit.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:09 PM on November 6, 2010

*Paleolithic plus dairy - all the milkfat I want, some non-aged cheese, and generally 2 cups or less of whole, grass-fed milk.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 10:10 PM on November 6, 2010

I spend at least $100 a month on cheese, use real butter, and drink whole milk.*

I'm sorry The Dairy Industry, but I can't manage any more than that!

* Total cholesterol 165, HDL 71. I love you, Gary Taubes!
posted by elsietheeel at 10:25 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Right, 1% isn't skim. My mistake. it's as close as I can come to drinking skim without puking it back up. I pretend actual "skim" milk just doesn't exist.

Really, just pour water in your coffee or on your cereal. It will have the same effect. I do not understand why people willingly suffer nasty assed food in the name of "health." Have whole milk, but half as much, and voila, same caloric value as skim but it tastes edible.

Hogs can stomach it though. Mmm. bacon.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:34 PM on November 6, 2010

Earl the Polliwog, some of your links point back to this FPP. Is that intentional?
posted by bardophile at 10:34 PM on November 6, 2010

Wait, Costco sells raw milk cheese? WTF?
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:35 PM on November 6, 2010

And Earl is right about the demonization of saturated fat.

We're looking in the wrong direction. It's the sugar. The sugar. Cut out the sugar.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:38 PM on November 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

On behalf of all the people singing the praise of Good Calories, Bad Calories, here's a link to a decent summary. Read it. It blew my mind.

The only trouble is that it doesn't really distinguish between carbs much. For that, I had to do more research to find that grains (especially wheat), sugars (especially fructose), and seed/vegetable oils are the biggest Problem Foods.

Fructose is the next tobacco, then seed oils and wheat after that.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 10:39 PM on November 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Those links were a mistake, I think I forgot quotes. The proper links:

Dissolve your bones ; Australian observational study ; Dirty Little Secret of the Diet-Heart Hypothesis
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 10:41 PM on November 6, 2010

fourcheesemac: Really, just pour water in your coffee or on your cereal. It will have the same effect. I do not understand why people willingly suffer nasty assed food in the name of "health."

You know, not everyone's tastes match your own. I'm pretty careless about what I eat, and I won't touch anything other than skim milk. For some reason, I just consider the concept of milk with fat in it to be inconceivably disgusting - I know I don't like 1% or 2% milk and I'm pretty sure the only way I'd ever try whole milk would be at gunpoint.

For some reason, this doesn't apply to either butter (although I don't particularly like for most uses, preferring vegetable oil) and cheese (which I devour in ridiculous quantities.)
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:07 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are caves full of butter in Missouri?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:24 PM on November 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I hate the taste of skim milk but drink it because I have a really strong hereditary link (both parents) to seriously high cholesterol, and we are still being told, rightly or wrongly, that high cholesterol is a huge health risk for most of us. Consequently, I rarely drink milk at all. I take Synthroid for my hypothyroidism and count every calorie assiduously thanks to all the threads suggesting I do so, and find I can only maintain/slowly lose weight when taking in 1241 or less calories a day. I'm actually panicking lately because a torn ligament in my hip means I can't exercise right now and might have to go even lower in calories to get by.

I would love to be able to drink whole milk, though. And cheese is yummy. So if anyone knows how to correct for the whole cholesterol/heredity issue, I'm all ears.
posted by misha at 11:42 PM on November 6, 2010

I hate to write this, but aren't we drinking more alcohol? Like at meet-ups? Empty calories.
posted by Cranberry at 11:43 PM on November 6, 2010

In my own experience, I have lost about 14 pounds recently by getting rid of carbs and upping my cheese and veggie intake. I was eating a lot of cheese, although I will say it wasn't triple cream brie. After an adjustment period where I longed for pasta, the cheese was a big factor in making feel like I had actually eaten something of substance. I lost that weight without really trying that hard and without exercising that much. I love cheese and cheese loves me.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:56 PM on November 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

The un-cheesed life is not worth living.
posted by Cranberry at 12:17 AM on November 7, 2010 [8 favorites]

I hate to write this, but aren't we drinking more alcohol? Like at meet-ups? Empty calories.

Oh, I meant to say -- to round out my anecdata -- that most of my sugar/carbs come from alcohol. But I forgot to do that, because I am drnuk right now.
posted by trip and a half at 12:24 AM on November 7, 2010

I've always hated cheese, and I'm lactose intolerant.

Clearly, I'm doomed.

(To add insult to injury, I'm originally from Wisconsin. America's Dairyland = MY PERSONAL HELL)
posted by spinifex23 at 12:46 AM on November 7, 2010

We can debate the merits of different types of diet as much as we like (and I am entirely sympathetic to the Taubes-Pollan diet iconoclasm).

Fundamentally the issue is too much food. Because of a tremendously screwed-up regime of agricultural subsidies, American taxpayers fork out trillions to American agribusiness to produce way more calories than anyone needs, and they all need to be sold to consumers. The composition of those calories -- corn-fed dairy, corn-fed beef, soy, HFCS, whatever -- is a nicety compared to the sheer fuckedupitude of the massive boondoggle that is developed-world farm subsidies.

(Why yes, I am a New Zealander, a citizen of the only first world country where monetarists managed to convince the nation to get rid of our agricultural subsidies because free trade is awesome. Thus far they have somehow failed to convince anyone else.)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:56 AM on November 7, 2010

Spleen, when Joe finds out you've been talking nonsense, his liver's gonna be pissed.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:28 AM on November 7, 2010

Wow I read all of Nattie's post! It works, I can do it. Now some bacon...eggs...and no toast.
posted by Namlit at 3:16 AM on November 7, 2010

I've been trying to convince a co-worker to switch from low-fat salad dressing, low-fat milk, low-fat blah blah blah for months now. He's a new father and gained about 20 pounds with stress eating. Firmly into middle age, and exercise isn't making any difference.

He won't do it. He's seen me lose 20 pounds this year, and 2 inches off my hips from cutting out artificial sweeteners and going back on low-carb, but he's convinced it will "catch up with me" at some point (after 11 months?) and all of the calorie restriction and low-fat he's torturing himself with will all of the sudden work someday.

It is stunning and a little scary how brain-washed the general public is about nutrition.
posted by lootie777 at 4:30 AM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

I do not understand why people willingly suffer nasty assed food in the name of "health." Have whole milk, but half as much, and voila, same caloric value as skim but it tastes edible.

I drank whole milk as a child and liked it, but sometime in my teens--I don't rmemeber exactly how or why--I switched to preferring skim. It tastes sweet to me, and definitely thicker than water or juice, but not as thick and viscous as whole. I don't know why, whole just is completely unapealing to me anymore.

I do drink a *lot* of milk, tho. I don't drink soda, or alcoholic beverages, or coffee, or frankly almost anything that other people seem to drink. I drink milk and water and also Gatorade, if I'm doing a lot of sweaty stuff. And I tend to drink on the order of a gallon of liquid a day, thanks to a disorder that makes me feel dehydrated all the time. I keep thinking I should get a cow. But then I'd have to learn to skim the milk. And how to make my own cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.
posted by galadriel at 5:49 AM on November 7, 2010

Man, if it wasn't for lactaid milk and Finlandia cheese I prolly would've died from abject despair by now.
posted by elizardbits at 5:56 AM on November 7, 2010

I used to hate cow's milk in general, and whole milk was the worst. It made me really mucousy. Then my aunt started dating a dairy farmer, and I started dating a man whose mom worked at a dairy, and I came to understand that grain fed, hormone poked cows give so much milk that they are prone to mastitis. This causes lots of mucous to end up in the milk. It's sterile, of course, but still there.

Then I moved to an area where the dominant (and by dominant, I mean only) local dairy uses only hormone free milk in all their goodies. I'm sure some of their farmers still feed grain, but nonetheless, the quality of dairy here is spectacular. Virtually all of our visitors comment on it. I made the mistake of eating some WalMart brand butter last week, and bleh. It tasted like lard. Point being, I can drink hormone free milk with no mucous issue.

In natural systems, there is no waste. Something has to be done will all that fat from skim and 2%, so it becomes cheese and ice cream. If we all just drank whole milk, the cost of ice cream and cheese would go way, way up, and thus people would probably eat less of it.

Heart disease and insulin resistance and diabetes are all part of the same set of problems. Insulin resistance is underdiagnosed, widespread, and a precursor to full blown diabetes. Diabetes is an inability to properly metabolize blood glucose. Carbohydrate, particularly simple carbohydrate, dumps glucose into the blood so quickly that it's very tough for an insulin resistant or diabetic person to deal with it. If you are avoiding simple carbohydrate (sugar, flour), you are going on a version of a low carbohydrate diet.

Why is it so tough for our leaders to accept that there is not a food pyramid that works for everyone? Some people need a low carb diet for their bodies to function.

And cheese? Mmmm. The only cheese I don't eat is that fake stuff that's made from petroleum byproduct. I also drink whole milk and make my own whole milk yogurt that people are always trying to get me to sell to them, despite my lack of a health inspected kitchen.

I'm going to end by quoting my old nutrition prof, Mo: "Fat is your FRIEND."
posted by Leta at 7:24 AM on November 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Nthing the "I used to like whole milk and now like skim because whole is too rich". I don't know when it happened, but sometime in my college years. I still want real butter and not the fake stuff (tried it recently and threw it out before I finished the pound) and real cheese (not fake processed stuff with no milk in it), but I just prefer skim.

Without having read the book everyone upthread is recommending, I'll add that I do better when I restrict my carb intake (specifically white breads and other heavily processed flour) too. I already cut out a lot of sugar carbs because I live with a diabetic and we just don't keep those carbs in the house. We're not to the point of "never eat bread" but we generally only have a loaf of bread in the house if one of us makes it. Part of the dietary outcome may be less fat consumption, since that reduces our butter intake, but I believe the carbs play a role too.

Reducing fat intake and exercise is what does it for me, personally, on the cholesterol front, but carbs are a big dietary issue for me too. YMMV and probably does.
posted by immlass at 7:27 AM on November 7, 2010

I just popped in to say, I live in Switzerland. Gruyère. Cheese is, what's for lunch. As well as breakfast and dinner. And it's the best. It is awesome.

I have lived with a high cholesterol diet pretty much always, except when I was too damn broke to eat. But my blood test has always been within reason. Oops, so sorry. Not good enough to keep me from needing the roto-rooter in my arteries. But that was from smoking.
posted by Goofyy at 8:13 AM on November 7, 2010

posted by sonika at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2010

More Cheese is Gouda.

(Gouda is my code for: tres bien)
posted by ovvl at 2:36 PM on November 7, 2010

I don't believe we've got this far without some love for Jarlsberg.

Also: anybody seriously interested in playing with a lower-carb diet needs to know that your gut will not thank you for sudden reductions in dietary fibre intake. So yeah, use cheese to knock back the food cravings, but eat masses of leafy greens as well. A little psyllium husk morning and evening will completely prevent the pushing and the straining and the tearing and hurting, too.
posted by flabdablet at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2010

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