Saturday, August 13, 2011

To Dairy Or Not To Dairy - That Is The Question?

 Every now and then I like to experiment with my way of eating by adding or removing specific foods from my diet. Usually they are the "grey area" foods that are considered borderline in the paleo/primal/ancestral nutritional camps. There is no real intent other than to gauge how they affect me and whether I notice any digestive/physiological changes.



I adhere to a belief that nutrition really comes down to a personal thing and you need to find out what foods work for you and what foods don't. The easiest way to accomplish that is to abstain for a period of time, record how you feel then reintroduce that food.Often you may be able to determine that you can handle certain foods in limited amounts(your tipping point) or just certain varients of a particular food(ie; fermented). I have noticed about five pounds of weight gained since adding cream back into my diet so removing it should see my weight stabilize back at normal levels(190-192 lbs) if cream(and dairy) is the culprit.

I generally will eat some butter, a little cheese, some Balkan style (6% MF) yougurt but mostly heavy cream(35%MF) in my coffee. I am curious to see if the limited dairy in my diet was enough to stall weight loss and/or result in weight gain?The general consensus seems to be that even full fat dairy is somewhat insulinogenic and will facilitate weight gain.That said there are those who believe that dairy consumption may actually contribute to weight loss and control so it becomes all very confusing.Especially when you factor in the benefits of fermentation and the quantity of troublesome milk proteins in a given product. So lets test that theory.

Current eating patterns will continue as usual but less the dairy. Meal frequency will also remain the same and exercise will also be maintained at recent levels.
August 13 2011 - wakeup weight of 197.2
August 14 2011 - wakeup weight of 196
August 15 2011 - wakeup weight of 197
August 16 2011 - wakeup weight of 196.6
August 17 2011 - wakeup weight of 194
August 18 2011 - wakeup weight of 195.4
August 19 2011 - wakeup weight of 194.6
August 20 2011 - wakeup weight of 194.4
August 21 2011 - wakeup weight of 196

After 8 days my weight has fluxuated but I suspect that is related in part to exercise and hydration.I had also increased my fruit consumption this week as fresh peaches were on sale and they are just delicious.Lots of confounding factors. I'm not convinced dairy does lead to weight gain other than the additional calories consumed through it's usage.  That said..........

My complexion and scalp has improved since removing dairy.There are some assertions that dairy may play a role in skin health, including blemishes and acne.


That is interesting although problematic milk proteins may also play a role in skin health as well, specifically those with dairy sensitivities, intolerances and allergies.....

http://www.livestrong.com/article/294261-skin-problems-with-dairy/

I had previously heard of the possible connections between skin health and dairy usage and have in the past monitored my experiences, specifically in regards to my scalp issues. I know for a fact ice cream wreaks havoc on my skin but I was never sure if it was the dairy or the sugar?Would cream/butter also present issues? Today I will start adding back a little 35% MF organic whipping cream blended with coconut milk for coffee usage just because it tastes so darn good. I will also re-introduce butter as it is simply delicious on veggies and the best food source for butyrate; a digestive metabolic associated with intestional health especially important for adherents of a low carb diet. Coincidentally Melissa has a recent blog posting on that subject.....
http://huntgatherlove.com/content/short-chain-fatty-acids-and-low-carb

Update - Aug 24

So I added an organic heavy cream back into my diet this past Saturday and my face broke out again. Coincidence?  My weight has stayed consistent but my problem areas(chin and side of mouth) and scalp has flared up. My diet has not been the best this past couple days(rice crispy squares....I know....sigh) so I am loathe to point blame at dairy. I will use up the remainder of the cream and re-evaluate come Saturday now that I got my diet back on track.

Update - Aug 28

Complexion has cleared up as has my scalp.I'm still doing the heavy whipping cream in my coffee but have switched to a non organic brand. Unlike many of the competitors this Dairy does not have any milk ingredients added to the cream but do use dextrose, carrageenan and polysorbate 80. Why would I do that? To be honest I seem to have issues with the organic brand(go figure?) I do not have with this current cream? I think there are so many confounding factors involved that I might never nail it down to dairy = skin issues. That said I will use up my current cream while keeping my diet clean and then re-try the organic brand to see if there is another outbreak.

Update - Sept 8

Still using non organic 35% MF heavy cream in my coffee along with a little 18% MF cream at work. No issues. No cravings for additional dairy so I have not bothered to start eating yogourts and/or cheeses. Have sourced a good unpasturized saurkraut to add beneficial bacteria to my diet so will forego any fermented dairy.

Conclusion - Sept 15

Dairy usage in my diet remains minor amounts of butter and 18-35% MF cream(in coffee).Weight has stabilized as has complexion and scalp issues. Works for me but I suppose the jury is still out on dairy consumption.

Update - Feb 23 2012

Since my way of eating remains flexible I figure it is time to update my current status in terms of dairy consumption. In a nutshell I remain an occasional eater of dairy with the bulk of it butter and cream(mostly used in coffee).

I do eat fermented dairy products comprising of Balkan/Greek style plain yogourts and some limited amounts of cheeses.Most of my consumption is cheddar, mozzarella, goat and feta varieties. I will occasionally have a swig of goat's milk but generally avoid unfermented products.....especially milk and ice creams. I am a firm believer that unsweetened fermented dairy is the key to success.

Note - to those who follow the blood type/genotype ways of eating I am a B+ Nomad and should (?) have an easier time with dairy.

My skin issues and scalp has never been better even with a modest increase in yogourt and cheese consumption.I have gained back weight this winter but that is not unusual considering my lack of bike time but may also be related to increased strength training. I`m heavier but thinner as I think my body composition is leaning out (but adding muscle) due to my intermittent fasting regimen.

Maybe dairy was not the driving factor in my skin issues but only part of a bigger  picture involving sugars and grains? Jury remains out.

1 comment:

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