Thursday, December 12, 2013

MILK: LACTOSE, WHEY, CASEIN, CALORIES -- IT'S COMPLICATED!

In September 2013 I reported that I'd given up wheat for 170 days but hadn't lost weight. I did, however, find it very easy to give up a 35-year habit of drinking alcohol (mostly wine) each evening, so that post was really about the wheat-wine connection. I also mentioned how I loved the way stopping wheat stopped my food cravings.

You might wonder how, if I lost my food cravings plus gave up alcohol and wheat, I didn't lose weight. I certainly wondered! I searched all over the Wheat Belly blog and finally found a post called: I lost the wheat, but didn't lose weight: 2. Dr. Davis gave various explanations. The one that attracted me was this:

3) Lose the dairy–The problem with dairy is not fat; it’s the whey fraction of protein. Some people are susceptible to the “insulinotrophic” action of whey–a tripling of insulin output by the pancreas, a situation that stalls weight loss. The solution: Avoid all dairy when trying to lose weight. I know of no other way to confidently identify this as the culprit . . . except a trial of elimination. This approach does, however, make the diet very restrictive, so this may be necessary for only as long as you are trying to lose weight.

So in September of this year I gave up dairy and suddenly it was like someone put a pin in my belly and deflated it. I finally, after three years, started to easily shed pounds (12 of them, to date). But this was not the first time I'd given up dairy.

I had been having an on-again-off-again relationship with dairy since I did a cleanse with my daughter for the first three weeks of January, 2011. The cleanse was: no animal products (meat, fish, eggs, or dairy), no gluten, no sugar, no coffee, and no alcohol. At the end of the 21 days I wrote in my journal: "If I totally leave this cleanse behind, I'll be a fool -- my rosacea is so faded and my sinuses so clear. My mood has been stable too. Haven't had a depression crash or a super-high, full-of-a-million-ideas sensation. I just feel pretty calm. Good sleeping too. Amazing." But I had no idea which ingredients were doing what and I slowly went back to my prior diet which included all of the off-limit foods.

Then in December, 2011 my sister-in-law loaned me The No-Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program by Jane Plant, PhD who attributed the turn-around of her own breast cancer to giving up dairy. In the book she explained it was growth hormones and the casein protein in the milk that caused cancer or at least made cancer cells multiply. Since my mother died of breast cancer when she was sixty, as a precaution, I thought I'd give up dairy again.

I was content being mostly dairy-free until I read another book several months later: Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection by Jessica Prentice. (I love this book.) In it Prentice explains how raw milk, besides being healthier than pasteurized and homogenized can have various flavors based on what the cows are eating and the season of the year. I felt robbed that I'd never had that experience! I reconsidered my fear of the raw milk sold door to door here in Morelia. I waved one of the sellers over that I'd seen selling to my neighbors over many years and started buying from him too. It felt so wholesome to buy milk ladled out for me from the metal milk canisters he pedaled around on the cart attached to his bicycle.

At first I was very cautious about trying the milk, but after a few days, all my fear was gone and I became a raw milk devotee. I also started making kefir from it. When I went to New Hampshire in the summer I was delighted to find raw milk being sold in my local grocery store. So my rule became, I only consume raw milk and cheeses made from raw milk. Still I probably consumed less than a cup of milk a day, mostly in my morning coffee and small amounts of cheese occasionally. But that was enough to sabotage my weight loss! So what IS the "insulinotrophic action of whey"? Here's the best explanation I found:

Dairy products produce higher insulin responses (Insulin index, II, 90–98) than expected from their comparatively low glycemic indices (GI 15–30) [1,2]. Insulinogenic effects from dairy products have been observed in healthy subjects, both when ingested as a single meal [1], and when included into a mixed meal [2,3]. The insulin-releasing capacity of dairy products has been attributed to the protein fraction, and both whey and casein have been shown to stimulate insulin secretion in healthy subjects [4,5]. http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/9/1/48

In other words, the glycemic index does not tell the whole story about milk. (Glycemic Index, you've let me down!)

The other thing this proves to me yet again, is that weight loss is NOT dependent on calories but on types of food. A cup of whole raw milk is 156 calories. Taking that away cannot explain the rapid loss of inches from around my middle.

So that's my experience with milk. Another person with a milk story is Mark Bittman. This article from the Times: Got Milk? You Don't Need It  explains how he went all his life suffering from heartburn / acid reflux. Finally he tried giving up milk and the symptoms disappeared within 24 hours. The article has some other good information about milk as well.

For both wheat and dairy -- there's no harm in giving either or both  up in a trial to see how their elimination might effect your health. Remember, modern man has been around for about 200,000 years, and only began eating either grains and dairy about 10,000 years ago, so it's not like those foods are necessary for survival.  Elimination is so easy and it's FREE and the outcome may totally surprise you.

References:

The insulinogenic effect of whey protein is partially mediated by a direct effect of amino acids and GIP on β-cells. Nutrition and Metabolism

Learn about Lactose Intolerance here: http://www.theveggiepost.blogspot.mx/2012/09/you-and-moo.html

Evolution and Milk articles: Calcium absorption not the cause of evolution of milk digestion in Europeans, Archaeology: The Milk Revolution

And what about the cows who are producing all this milk? Here's an article considering the modern dairy cow in America: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/21/look-at-what-weve-done-to-cows/?wpisrc=nl_rainbow-gift

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