Yesterday I went into a Cafe Nero for a coffee. I asked for a latte and then had this exchange with the barista:
Me: “Would you make it with full fat milk please”
Barista: “No fat? Yes of course”
Me: “No, FULL fat please”
Barista: “Oh! Full fat? We don’t have full fat, I’m sorry. You know, (with a smile) I think you are the first person who has asked me for that in two years!”
I have conversations like this one almost every time I go for a coffee. Except at my local deli, where they understand the value of drinking whole milk, just as it comes from the cow! (Well, that’s unless you count the fact that it’s been pasteurised, which I wish it hadn’t). At least it’s organic, full fat and non-homogenised. And they offer all the options: full, semi and skimmed.
What is wrong with FULL FAT MILK?
Is it fattening?
Is it unhealthy?
We’ll actually NO, it isn’t. In fact, not only is not fattening – as we know fat is not fattening, unless we eat more of it than our body needs, in which case everything is fattening… carbs, protein, and indeed fat. Eaten when we are hungry (for milk is a food, not just a drink) full fat milk is (and FAT in general) is GOOD FOR US.
The propaganda against full fat milk has been so complete and pervasive over the past decade that it’s almost impossible to find a coffee made with it these days. The power of choice has been taken away. Starbucks use it and so do Costa, but Cafe Nero, Pret a Manger and many of the smaller coffee places just don’t even have it available. In fact Pret a Manger have told me they don’t offer it because they have a duty to be responsible when it comes to health, so they decide for us!
And even the cafes who do have it often hear my request for full fat as a ‘no’ or low fat! They are so used to people asking for low fat they assume that’s what I want. The Nero barista was not the first to comment on how unusual it is for someone to ask for full fat. “Especially a woman”, they sometimes add!!
This is a sad an sorry state of affairs. The misleading and frankly erroneous message about whole milk and the evils of fat have been drummed into us so completely that most people now no longer like full fat milk! Women I speak to say they don’t like the taste, it’s too creamy and rich. We have been weaned off that which is natural and whole and healthful. Today the milk we drink may look like milk (except for skimmed which looks like the water I used to wash my gluey paintbrush in at school!) but we may as well drink water for all the nourishment we get from it. I mean, why drink milk at all? If we want to benefit from the goodness it has to offer, if we want nourishment from our food as well as tastiness (is that a word??) then it’s worth considering the following:
1. Our bodies cannot digest the protein or absorb the calcium from milk without the fat.
2. Vitamins A and D are also fat-soluble. So you can’t absorb them from milk when all the fat has been skimmed off (this makes fortified skimmed milk the biggest sham of all — you can pump fat-free milk full of a year’s supply of vitamins A and D, but the body can’t make use of them).
3. Milk fat contains glycosphingolipids – types of fats linked to immune system health and cell metabolism.
4. Contrary to popular belief, low-fat and fat-free diets do not help prevent heart disease. New studies have revealed that the link between saturated fat and heart disease is tenuous, at best. In fact, studies now show that eating saturated fat raises good cholesterol — the kind of cholesterol you want and need in your body.
6. Foods that have not been processed are better for us than processed foods. Milk with the fat taken out is processed. The nutrients in whole, un-processed foods have a natural synergy with one another — that is, they work best and are most beneficial to the body when they are eaten together, whole, as they come.
7. Homogenized whole milk isn’t whole. When you buy homogenized milk, you’re buying a whole food that isn’t whole — it’s had it’s fat removed, evened out, and injected back into it in an amount less than when it comes from the cow! They don’t put all the fat back in – they leave about 1% of it out so that they can standardise fat levels and taste…
And again… just to make a point FAT is not fattening. OVEREATING is fattening. Eating foods our bodies does not need is fattening. FAT is healthy and tastes good. FAT helps us feels sated and less likely to overeat.
I’m on a mission (you may have gathered!) to bring back whole, full-fat milk in cafes across the land! I keep asking for it everywhere I go.
Want to join me?