Why those who eat lowfat are at significantly higher risk for stomach bugs, food poisoning and gastrointestinal disease, and how a specific fatty acid in dairy powerfully inhibits intestinal pathogens.
Have you ever noticed how some people seem to catch every single stomach bug that passes through the community while others seem completely immune?
How about the curious fact that some people get food poisoning all the time while others rarely succumb even if they ate the identical dish at the same restaurant?
It may not just be bad luck if it seems that you’re getting more than your fair share of stomach bugs.
Food Selection Impacts Gastrointestinal Risk
While “eating organic” is great, it actually doesn’t offer much protection against intestinal pathogens.
Folks who rarely eat processed foods and take great pains to make their own meals from scratch can still be plagued with more than their fair share of stomach bug woes.
Why is this?
I used to ponder this very question as to why I kept catching so many tummy bugs despite eating everything organic in my twenties.
While important, it appears that food quality is not necessarily the best way to prevent gastrointestinal illness.
Could it be the composition of the foods that we eat is a major contributory factor in the frequency of intestinal illness?
For example, is it possible that a very simple change such as increasing the amount of butterfat in the diet could actually be of benefit in avoiding gastroenteritis?
Milk Fat Protects the Gut from Pathogens
Glycosphingolipids are a special type of lipid found in bovine milk fat.
Sources include butter, cream, whole milk, whole yogurt, kefir, ghee, and cheese.
These foods offer protection against gastroenteritis because they include anti-pathogenic fatty acids.
Children who drink lowfat or skim milk suffer from acute gastrointestinal illness at a rate 3-4 times higher than children who drink whole milk. (1)
This is an incredibly significant difference!
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Glycosphingolipids are lipids with single sugar molecules attached found in cell membranes, especially in the brain. They also protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in infants and children. (2)
According to in vitro studies of milk fat, glycosphingolipids are not only protective against pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella and listeria but also against viruses and fungi as well. (3)
Taking a therapeutic quality probiotic every day is also highly protective.
Whole Dairy is Best
I experienced this same effect even as an adult.
Once I switched to whole milk products and butter and away from butter substitutes and lowfat dairy, my tendency to succumb to stomach flu vanished.
In fact, in my household, no one has had a tummy bug or gastrointestinal illness of any kind in many years!
This is not to say that consuming plenty of milkfat in the diet will guarantee complete avoidance of gastroenteritis. It will, however, significantly increase your resistance to it.
In essence, butterfat is a functional food in that it works as a broad spectrum anti-microbial agent in the gut.
What About all that Butterfat?
Concerned that all that butterfat might be bad for your health? Take heart (literally)… it’s all a myth!
Unfortunately, it’s taking decades for the public to finally awaken to the fact that those who eat butter and drink whole milk have HALF the heart attack risk as those who drink lowfat milk and eat margarine. (4)
This study followed 5,000 men between the ages of 45 and 59 for 10 years.
Of those who drank at least a pint of whole milk a day and ate butter, there was only a 1% risk for a heart attack!
What do heart doctors say?
This prominent cardiologist’s opinion of a lowfat diet is that it is “scientifically and morally indefensible”.
In summary, then, it’s not just any milk that does a body good, It’s whole milk!
(1) Milk fat and gastrointestinal illness
(2) Digestion and absorption of food fats
(3) Bactericidal Activities of Milk Lipids
(4) Milk Decreases Heart Attacks
@ Healthy Home Ecconomist
Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, with 70 to 100 percent of people affected in these communities.
Your numbers are misleading…they are ONLY for adults, NOT children most of whom still have a good ability to digest dairy even if pasteurized.
Also, BUTTER and especially GHEE are very easy for everyone to digest even if it is pasteurized and they are lactose impaired because most of the lactose has been removed during the butter making process.
But, do I even promote pasteurized milk on this blog or consume it myself? No. I suggest raw milk which has ALL the lactase necessary to digest ALL of the lactose as consumed by healthy traditional cultures ALL of which ate meat and MANY of which consumed dairy.
Before criticizing or spreading globalist vegan propaganda, maybe do some more research.
My issue is that my gallbladder has a problem processing the fat. I generally drink skim milk or fat-free Lactaid. Is there something else I could eat or take
Have you tried taking bile salts?
I came across this article, searching for a cure to my mild food poisoning I get too frequently. I could get food poisoning once every two weeks!!! It is insane! Although it is a simple as having abdominal pain and going to the toilet.
The food poisoning relates to my intolerant to milk as well as raw fish (sashmi) which I have cut out of my diet. I still seem to easily be intolerant to normal foods I eat..so I’m guessing I have a very temperament, weak stomach/digestive system.
Your article is an interesting read, unfortunately milk cannot be a cure for me as I am lactose intolerant. I am thinking of probiotic supplements to anyone out there having issues like me.
So this is the same question I have. What if you are lactose intolerant? Probiotics like yakult drink is the alternative?
The vast majority of those who think they are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk as the enzyme to digest the lactose is still present … it gets destroyed by pasteurization.
People who get food poisoning frequently and have milk intolerance should get a hold of some kefir. It is similar to yogurt but with much more probiotic bacteria. From what I been reading about it is ok for people with milk intolerance to drink it, something about the kefir bacteria removing stuff from milk in the fermentation process that causes milk intolerance in people. I have been drinking kefir for over 5 years but I’m not milk intolerant so I dont know if all these claims are true. I would suggest people do their own research as it could help them a lot if their gut bacteria is causing issues for them.
I had to avoid all dairy for a few years, (my daughter was sensitive and I am breastfeeding). We consumed lots of fermented foods and did not get sick. There was one time when all of our friends were were sick for 24 hours from food poisoning and we didn’t get it. Kimchi, sauerkraut, real pickles, water kefir, etc. Also, many people who are sensitive to cow’s milk may only be sensitive to A1 casein, (not A2). Goat milk is A2, and some cows produce A2 milk, you just have to find them.
Heather Chilton Wormsley via Facebook
We eat LOTS of full fat dairy and I always cook with my homemade stock (complete with chicken feet simmered 12 hours), and we were DOWN with it. In fact, I had a bad cough for 45 days!