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.
These foods offer protection against gastroenteritis because they include anti-pathogenic fatty acids.
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!
(2) Digestion and absorption of food fats
(3) Bactericidal Activities of Milk Lipids
(4) Milk Decreases Heart Attacks