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Does dairy make me fat?

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  • Does dairy make me fat?

    Ive been listening to Robbs podcasts about dairy and he seems to contradict himself in places regarding dairy and insulin spikes.
    Does milk, cream etc cause insulin spikes high enough to prevent fat loss? There seems to be varying opinions on whether dairy is a good idea or a bad.
    I get through a fair amount of dairy in various forms (inclusing matsoni and kefir) and wonder if I am holding myself back by doing this.
    Any thoughts?
    I'm not a complete idiot! There's parts missing!!

  • #2
    It's really all about calories. And calories can definitely add up if you're using a lot of cream and butter. Don't worry about insulin spikes, they are perfectly normal and happen after eating basically any foods. Some breakfast cereals have a very low score on the insulin index, even lower than meat, that doesn't necessarily make them a good choice.
    Last edited by Forgotmylastusername; 03-29-2012, 03:43 AM.

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    • #3
      The primary proteins in milk are unique to milk, not found in any other tissues. Broadly speaking, there are two categories of milk proteins, the main group is the casein proteins ( about 3 or 4 depending on the species ), with the remaining proteins in milk grouped together as the whey protein group. All of these proteins are highly insulinogenic, meaning they produce a pronounced insulin response, even in the absence of carbohydrate. Keep that last bit in mind, it will be pivotal later.

      Several studies have been performed to determine the effects of milk proteins on insulin levels, and a really interesting one compared the effects of ingesting cream vs. caseins. Cream is basically all fat, the lactose and proteins in milk have been processed out via centrifuging. So, we're essentially comparing the insulin effects of ingesting milk fats vs. ingesting milk proteins, no carbohydrates allowed.

      Take a look at the below table ( cribbed from Peter @ Hyperlipid ) and see what happens to your insulin when you ingest casein. One and two hours after ingesting casein, insulin levels are threefold higher than baseline, and this is a statistically significant result. Three hours later and we're still more than double the baseline insulin level. But remember, we have not been ingesting any carbohydrates, so, by rights, our hapless experimental subjects should all be in hypoglycemic comas. But, happily, they're not, because glucose levels have not budged from baseline.

      dandona casein.jpg

      The burning question then becomes, how do you keep glucose levels constant in the face of tripled insulin levels and no dietary intake of carbohydrate? The one word answer is ... glucagon.

      The chart below comes from a different study that had subjects eat four different isocaloric meals that were high in protein, fat, carbohydrate, or alcohol. So, we're eating the same amount of calories in each meal, but were changing the macronutrient ratios. Take a look at the insulin and glucagon response panels at the bottom of the diagram, the bit we're interested in is the delta-AUC, or, the change in the area under the curve, which we can interpret as the overall effect of the meal. Well, as I've highlighted, every meal, with the notable exception of the high carbohydrate meal causes both insulin and glucagon levels to increase in approximately the same magnitude. The high carbohydrate meal spikes insulin while at the same time suppressing glucagon, in fact lowering it somewhat over baseline.

      Safari.png

      Glucagon has the opposite effect of insulin on lipolysis, that is, while insulin inhibits lipolysis, glucagon promotes it. So, in general, net net it is pretty much a wash in terms of lipolysis ... one step forward, one step back. Only in the case of high carbohydrate meals do we have a net suppression of lipolysis, but not due to insulin secretion, but rather to the suppression of glucagon.

      Now, we can finally answer your question: does dairy intake make one fat via the action of dairy on insulin and that hormone's peripheral effects on lipolysis? No, because there is a compensatory secretion of glucagon by the pancreas in order to maintain normoglycemia and the peripheral effect of glucagon on lipolysis is to increase lipolysis.

      I tend to think that the anti-dairy paleo faction is probably overstating their case.

      -PK
      Last edited by pklopp; 03-30-2012, 10:46 AM.
      My blog : cogitoergoedo.com

      Interested in Intermittent Fasting? This might help: part 1, part 2, part 3.

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      • #4
        I lost weight quickly when I started using more milk products.

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        • #5
          Keep that last bit in mind, it will be pivotal later.

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          • #6
            Wow that was amazing!!! Thanks for all that info pklopp. Really appreciated.
            I'm not a complete idiot! There's parts missing!!

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            • #7
              Thanks pklopp. I've lost about 46 lbs of fat eating at least 150 g of goats/sheeps cheese daily, also eating butter.

              I've added in bioactive goats yogurt and goats milk during the past few days with no ill effects.
              Last edited by paleo-bunny; 03-30-2012, 05:08 AM. Reason: clarification
              F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rattybag View Post
                Wow that was amazing!!! Thanks for all that info pklopp. Really appreciated.
                But of course! We aim to please here at Chez Piquet!

                I realized that the post looks different when I'm not logged in because the attachments ( charts ) are pending approval. If you want to see them, take a look at the post as it appears on my blog here.

                -PK
                My blog : cogitoergoedo.com

                Interested in Intermittent Fasting? This might help: part 1, part 2, part 3.

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                • #9
                  So, how would you rank butter, cheese, milk, etc. for it's ability to make you fat?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PeaceCorpsCaveMan View Post
                    So, how would you rank butter, cheese, milk, etc. for it's ability to make you fat?
                    Spend some time in Holland. Lots of dairy. Lots of tall thin people. Eliminating a specifc food group/type (unless you have an allergy/other) doesn't solve the problem. No one wants to hear it, but it really comes down to eating less, eating less often, and moving more.

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                    • #11
                      I can't get behind the idea of completely eliminating dairy. There are some really great nutritional benefits from high-quality, minimally-processed dairy (raw milk, kefir, untamed yogurt). I don't know if you are trying to lose fat, or trying to maintain your weight, but I wouldn't suggest eliminating dairy from your diet if you are already avoiding non-primal foods. If you are particularly intolerant to lactose then that's another story of course.

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                      • #12
                        I eat yogurt and cheese all the time. One or the other or both just about every day. I also put whole milk in my smoothies sometimes and (gasp!) eat ice cream. It doesn't seem to affect my body composition much, good or bad. It does make me feel good, though. I love dairy.
                        Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                        My Primal Journal

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Uncephalized View Post
                          I eat yogurt and cheese all the time. One or the other or both just about every day. I also put whole milk in my smoothies sometimes and (gasp!) eat ice cream. It doesn't seem to affect my body composition much, good or bad. It does make me feel good, though. I love dairy.
                          Just got the NINJA 1100....homemade ice cream! Pint of cream, 6 egg yolks, frozen fruit...good stuff! I love this blender so far. Great smoothies even with whole carrots thrown in too.

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                          • #14
                            pklopp, that analysis you posted totally makes sense--carbohydrate-heavy meals *should* suppress lipolysis because you have to remove excess glucose from the bloodstream, and to do that you need to burn it, store it as glycogen or store it as fat (all of which are mediated by insulin AFAIK), which would be impeded by continuing to oxidize fat stores instead. Whereas if you eat fat or protein, blood sugar is unaffected and insulin can rise to shuttle nutrients to the tissues that need them (presumably, the ones that are most insulin-sensitive at that point in time, e.g. muscles after a workout) while glucagon ensures that bodily fat stores are still available for fuel, since there is no need to clear glucose from the bloodstream.

                            Which is still no reason to fear dietary carbohydrate in a healthy person, since presumably as soon as you have dealt with the short-term excess of glucose from your meal, insulin will drop again and lipolysis will resume as normal.
                            Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

                            My Primal Journal

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                            • #15
                              what about greek yogurt?

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