I'm a big Flat White fan, so much so that I definitely know the difference between a real FW and a 'skinny' one. Interestingly, on occasion if I order one at a new coffee shop, wearing lululemon (which in most cases I am!) without asking for skinny milk, I get given one thats been made with skimmed milk. There's clearly an incorrect assumption that because I train, I must therefore follow a low fat diet. Nothing could be further from the truth!
First of all, lets clarify a common misconception about what we call 'full-fat milk' (AKA regular, full cream, whole, blue top milk). It's actually not really full fat: as it contains only around 3.25 per cent fat, which, if you’re only drinking the equivalent of a glass or two a day, is significantly less than the fat you're consuming in other foods. Interestingly whole milk sales plummeted after the big saturated fat scare of the 70's, when everything naturally creamy and buttery was replaced for processed and man-made “low fat” foods instead. I can't help but think that's when it all went wrong. The Government and the food companies/supermarket giants did such a good job at convincing people that low fat was the healthier way forward that over 40 years on and some people still think that full fat milk is bad for you?!
The truth is that fat or even saturated fat is not the enemy. Fats are an important part of a complete & healthy diet, they also help with the feeling of being satisfied after a full-fat tea or coffee, unlike skinny versions, and fat (along with protein, also found in milk) fills you up longer, which curb the sugar cravings you get when your stomach is empty. Fats also do other important things - they're highly stable, lower cholesterol, enhance the brain and even protect the liver. Obviously, that’s not a free pass to binge on burger and fries, but the small amount in natural milk will actually do you good. As a 70's child, I remember my own Mum being swayed into believing the low fat phenomena. Even in her later years, once I was better informed and educated to know better, she still insisted on buying low fat yoghurts, skimmed milk and flora margarine! Essentially I was fighting against the scientists who for years warned us off full-fat milk because of so-called evidence pointing to increased LDL levels (bad cholesterol). But new research actually suggests that dairy actually increases good cholesterol which helps metabolise LDL anyway. The “blue milk makes you fat” argument doesn’t convince me either. Infact, a significant study of subjects followed over a 12 year period, showed there was a common link with those with a higher dairy fat intake with a lower risk of dangerous belly fat, while subjects with low dairy fat intake showed the opposite! Do you or anyone you know suffer with gut issues? There are some promising studies with mice have shown milk fat globules may heal the intestinal mucosa (protective lining of the gut) and help people with leaky gut syndrome.
So the next time you order a skinny latte, think twice. The benefits of 1) the taste 2) the good fatty acids 3) the satiety and 4) the relatively low fat content/calories may well outweigh your decision to go skinny, especially if you are lucky enough to choose a grass fed, GM free, farm fresh, high quality milk like Mossgiel* from the Ayrshire Cows. Plus I can pretty much guarantee, that if you are overweight or carrying too much fat, its unlikely to be the full fat Flat White thats the issue!
*served at Southside Roasters and other fine coffee establishments in Glasgow.