Dairy products include milk, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese and butter milk. They contain mostly carbohydrates and fat. They are a little trickier than other foods that contain fat and carbohydrates. The fat in milk and dairy products is almost entirely saturated fat. That’s the fat that causes our bad cholesterol to go up. This is unintuitive since I have been saying all along to avoid solid fats if you want your cholesterol to go down. Milk is not solid at room temperature, but contains saturated fat. Think of milk as solid fat particles which are suspended in a liquid solution.
The C3 Diet wants you to eat a heart healthy diet. While other diets may allow unlimited amounts of dairy products, we need to be picky and choosy.
Low Fat Milk Based Dairy Products
Whenever you have the opportunity to choose a low or lower fat dairy product, please do so. If you are considering drinking whole milk (which is 4% fat), consider substituting for 2% or skim milk. That’s the easy part.
Milk also contains carbohydrates in an easily accessible form. It is very easy for our stomachs to access the sugars in milk and raise our blood sugar levels. We need to be very careful and only drink small amounts at a time. While a cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of fat, it also contains 13 grams of sugar.
The difference in carbohydrates from whole milk, to 2% to 1% to skim is not very different. Here is a quick look at the carbohydrate content of various milk products:
Whole milk – 11.4 grams of carbohydrate
2 % milk – 11.7
1 % milk – 11.6
Fat-free (skim) milk – 11.9
Buttermilk – 11.7
Goat’s milk – 10.9
Half and Half – 10.4
Light Cream – 7.1 ;
Heavy Cream – 6.6
In phase I of the C3 Diet, you should avoid milk products altogether, and only add them in in phase II when you understand how much you can tolerate. And even then, be very careful in how much you consume. Liquid carbohydrates are quickly absorbed and cause a surge in insulin levels, which trigger the fat storing mechanism.
Low Fat Cheese Based Dairy Products
Cheeses are interesting and even trickier. How do you make cheese? Take all of the saturated fat (solid fat) from milk and bind it together with various enzymes and flavors. You are basically eating just saturated fat and some carbohydrates. Because you are eating a lot of fat, and fat is very calorie dense, you should eat only small amounts of cheese. Because cheese contains a lot of carbohydrates, you should minimize your cheese intake in phase I of the C3 Diet.
As you enter phase II, you may be more tolerant of carbohydrates and you may have some low fat cheeses (in very small amounts). Exceptions to this rule are small amounts of highly flavorful cheeses such as Parmesan, Asiagio, and Blue Cheeses which can be used occasionally. These low fat varieties could include:
Cottage cheese (2% fat or less)
Cream cheese, fat-free or low-fat
Ricotta (part skim)
Remember, avoid dairy products in phase I, slowly add some of the lower fat and lower carbohydrate varieties as tolerated in phase II. If you start putting weight back on, or stop losing weight, cut out the dairy products.