On our farm there is a painting that hangs beside our back door and gets lots of chuckles. It is a reproduction of an almost 30-year-old Hershey Chocolate Syrup ad painted for me by an artist friend of our daughter after the original paper ad started to fade and fall apart. The gist of the advertisement was that Hershey Chocolate Syrup adds no extra fat to the milk you choose to drink. The picture gained some fame in the Canadian Jersey world this past winter when Jersey royalty in the form of Russel Gammon himself (known as Canada’s Mr. Jersey for his long career and passion for innovation in the breed) paid a visit, took a picture of it and posted it to his Facebook page.
“Terrific! Where can I get one?” was the most frequent comment.
To me, the ever-decreasing cow bodies in the ad have always signified the declining nutrient value of the various types of milk, skim being worth nothing nutritionally in my eyes. The milk in our fridge, coming from our bulk tank, has always been the Whole Milk, like in the ad: healthy and full of flavour. When our doctors started asking where they could buy “milk straight from the cow (hint, hint),” this was further proof to me that whole milk was better for us. Then another health professional said that her farm clients who drink milk from the bulk tank are generally healthier than most. More confirmation, although anecdotal.
Several studies support the use of whole milk over skim (and anything in between). One, published in the journal Circulation last year by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues, followed 3,333 adults enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study of Health Professionals Follow Up Study over 15 years and actually showed that those with higher levels of three different byproducts of full-fat dairy had a reduced risk of diabetes by 46 %. Just this one benefit is more than enough reason to turn down reduced and non-fat milks. Obviously the problem with the naysayers is that they focus on one ingredient (fat) in full fat dairy and ignore everything else that is lost in the processing.
I am from a non-farming, city family and the only milk my mother ever drank has been skim since it was introduced, afraid of putting on some extra pounds. Before she was 70 she had broken her hip in an inane accident due to osteoporosis, characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.
A 75-year-old friend who drinks next to no milk — just 1 % for tea or baking — has been told for many, many years that she has osteoporosis which is getting worse by the year. Three weeks ago, getting on her riding lawnmower, she fractured the bone which runs along the outside of her right foot. How could she do that getting on a mower you ask? Easy! Left foot on the deck, push with the right foot and … snap! She had to repeat the story so many times in ER that I will remember it for the rest of my life. As improbable as it might seem, it happened and I’ve seen the X-rays to prove it. She has been dealing with an air cast boot and a wheelchair ever since, convinced that she is not agile enough to deal with crutches.
Now we have the Canada Food Guide being re-written by supposed experts and they are leaving dairy products out of it. Why? Milk products are a terrific source of all nutrients and, especially, that ever important calcium needed for healthy bone growth. It has been shown in many studies that milk and dairy needs to be a part of the diet starting when young to ward off osteoporosis when older. The younger generation drinks enough non-dairy liquids anyway, especially soft drinks and energy drinks. Or is everyone just supposed to pop a pill for calcium too?
Personally, give me a glass of cold whole milk anytime, with or without the chocolate syrup.
P.S. To Hershey’s Chocolate: Do I get a commission for mentioning your product twice in one column?
Angela Dorie is an agricultural writer and a Jersey farmer near Cornwall.