Dairy has long been a controversial topic in nutrition. Is it good for us or does it contribute to inflammation and metabolic disease? The answer is that it depends on the person and the quality of dairy they are consuming.
After educating ourselves about the fallacious arguments and flawed data demonizing saturated fat and cholesterol, we can begin to open ourselves up to the possibility of dairy becoming a beneficial addition to our diets. Several studies have shown that consumption
of full fat dairy can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Full fat, grass fed, raw dairy is top of the line in terms of nutrition, digestibility, and bioavailability. It is, in every sense, a whole food. Every step beyond this is a form of processing that serves to diminish this nutrition, digestibility, and bioavailability. Pasteurized fat free milk is a highly processed food that has little to offer in terms of health. When the raw dairy his heated and pasteurized important enzymes, cultures, and cofactors are destroyed with the intent to make the product sterile. Among the enzymes destroyed is the lactase enzyme, without which most people are unable to properly digest the dairy sugar lactose. When the fat is removed most if not all of the beneficial fatty acids like CLA, and vitamins (which are fat soluble) are removed as well.
Raw milk is also not as dangerous as some institutions and media outlets would have you believe. The risk of developing a serious illness (requiring hospitalization) from drinking raw milk is only about one in 6 million.
Anecdotally, many people feel that they tolerate raw dairy products much better then pasteurized varieties, many reporting improved skin and immune functioning, as well as the alleviation of some dietary intolerances.
While these benefits may sound enticing, people with poor gut health, gluten intolerance, leaky gut, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth may still experience an autoimmune response to raw and/or full fat dairy. These reactions are primarily triggered by the proteins in dairy (whey and casein), and those concerned may want to follow and elimination diet to test their susceptibility.