Don’t let the lies we’ve been told for decades about fat fool you. After birth we relied on fat in the form of breast milk for the first few months of our lives. This is a natural reaction in a mother’s body because it’s exactly what a new born needs to thrive outside of the womb. As we grow that basic need for fat hasn’t change.
Healthy fats are the new trending health topic, and for good reason! As the author of Ketotarian it’s no surprise that I’m a big believer of the benefits of healthy fats and what they can do for the body. The key word here is healthy though. Filling your diet and body with fats that cause inflammation may put you into ketosis, but it’s not healing your body and bringing you to optimal health.
This is exactly why dairy is not on the allowed foods list in Ketotarian. Many keto eaters concentrate on high-fat dairy products even though it’s one of the most common allergens in our society. With a book that concentrates on reducing inflammation, it wouldn’t make sense to keep one of the main culprits that is a part of our modern diets.
Dairy, like many foods, doesn’t simply fall into a “good” or “bad” category. You probably grew up thinking that a glass of milk was the best way to start off your day, right? After all, it’s filled with protein and calcium. But not so fast. Every food can fall into a spectrum of healthiness where it can be beneficial for some and harmful to others. Don’t let this scare you though, it’s all based on your individual biochemistry and finding what’s best for you. For example, depending on if you have a certain gene mutation or not, coffee can either improve your health or it can increase your risk of health issues.
Control your health at its roots
One issue with dairy occurs when the body is not able to break down the lactose – otherwise known as lactose intolerance. This occurs when the small intestine is not producing the enzyme lactase. While it is commonly thought that the minority of the general public has this issue, the reality is that over 65% of the worldwide population, and up to 90% in some cultures, has an issue creating enough lactase. This is not the only issue with dairy though.
The protein called beta-casein found in dairy is another major issue. It has two subtypes known as A1 and A2. Most conventionally run dairy farms in the United States use cows that have many gene mutations after thousands of years of crossbreeding, and they produce the A1 casein dairy that is then sold in most grocery stores. This A1 casein is one of the main factors that increase inflammation in the body and can lead to digestive issues. On top of this, the cows producing this dairy are fed corn instead of grass and their milk is pasteurized, homogenized, and the fat is removed. Many times, the dairy isn’t the actual issue, it’s what is done to the cow and milk that makes it such an inflammatory food. So why not remove the casein and use only quality sources?
Grass-fed ghee is the only dairy that is Ketotarian compliant because it is better tolerated. Ghee is the perfect alternative to butter and actually boasts many health benefits, but let’s dive more into why I recommend adding it to your diet.
First of all, the beta-casein is removed, leaving just the grass-fed clarified butter fat that contains fat-soluble vitamins. For the majority of those eating a Western diet, vitamins A, D, and K2 are all at insufficient levels and ghee just happens to be one of the best ways to incorporate them into your diet. We desperately need these fat-soluble vitamins to keep our brain and immune systems working optimally. For vitamin A in particular, getting it from animal-based sources allows it to be more bioavailable to the body. For vegetarians, I highly recommend incorporating ghee into your diet to assure that you receive adequate amounts of vitamin A and all the health benefits that come with it.
Because it’s a healthy fat source derived from animals, this also means that is has a high smoking point. Most conventionally used oils have low oxidation levels and can form things like free radicals when heated that lead to disease. Ghee has a smoke point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a great option to use when cooking and baking.
Ghee is one of my favorite medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, which can help improve memory, increase muscle strength, and reduce toxin buildup. It also enhances the affects of ketosis and in turn encourages weight loss. In addition, the MCTs found in ghee can improve liver function, cholesterol, blood sugar, kidney function, and your immune system.
Grass-fed ghee is a great way to increase your healthy fats while still getting that buttery taste. You can pick up a jar at your local grocery or health foods store and cook up with your favorite vegetables and seafood for a nutritious and delicious meal.
About the Author
Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional expert who focuses on clinically researching and identifying the root factors of chronic disease – as well as providing a customized integrative medicine approach for thyroid conditions, autoimmune disease, and digestive disorders. He has won acclaim as one of the top 50 functional medicine doctors in the United States and is the author of the best-selling book Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum. For more information on his work and a link to the original article, visit this page.