The Full Fat Debate

On Our Minds


regard for one's own well-being and happiness

February, the month of love. The time of year we go the extra step to show the one's we love how much we appreciate them. A special gift, a box of chocolates, a dining experience or a relaxing weekend getaway. Whether or not you had a significant other or friends to celebrate with, our question is: How are you showing yourself love?

Self-love is vital to your happiness and your health, but it is not often practiced. Not only does it improve your own quality of life, but when we keep our own happiness and well-being in check, we can do SO MUCH more for those that we love. 

Having self-love requires you to become aware, mindful. Setting boundaries and limits on work and activities that drain you emotionally, physically and spiritually. It's surrounding yourself with people who let you be your most authentic self and make you feel happy when you're with them. Most importantly, it's giving your body and soul attention and care by getting enough sleep, exercise, eating well and having healthy social interactions.

In Good Health, 
Lisa Brown & Jennifer Medina

The Full Fat Debate

Skim milk or whole milk? Fat-free yogurt or full-fat yogurt? There's a lot of conflicting advice circulating and we are getting a lot of questions about it. First off, we love fat. Fat is satiating, delicious, and helps our body absorb important nutrients such as the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Your body utilizes fat to activate hormones, build immunity, transport nutrients and more. So, it's extremely important and we make sure our clients include fat with each meal. 

There's a couple of studies that started the buzz about fat. A study published last March in Circulation including 3,333 adults aged 30-75 years suggested that higher dietary fatty acid concentrations were associated with a lower incidence of Type II diabetes. Sure, this could make sense since low-fat or fat free products usually replace fat with sugar or carbohydrates, which can in turn affect blood sugar more than full fat products. But, let's move on and look at a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found that lower intakes of saturated fats were not exactly associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. We're not sold on this one (we'll get to that). In addition, the same journal published a study that found among 18,438 women in the Women's Health Study, those who consumed the most high-fat dairy products lowered their risk of being overweight by 8%. Well, given that fat is more satiating and helps you feel fuller longer (and therefore consume less overall), this would make sense. 

However, although studies are helpful, (especially when they are randomized control trials with a large sample size) they often don't take into account the overall picture. Are the people choosing full-fat dairy products ALSO eating the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and exercising daily? An overall healthy lifestyle is the most important part to this equation. Is someone that eats mostly processed foods and leads a sedentary life going to have the same results just by replacing low-fat dairy with full-fat dairy? We bet not.

If you have a history of heart disease and come into our office, we would still recommend low-fat dairy products because the research right now is not particularly strong. However, if you follow a healthy lifestyle and make great food choices most of the time, we don't see the harm in choose full fat dairy products. And of course if you ask us if we recommend avocado on toast vs butter, we will tell you that the avocado is a more nutritious choice. Same goes for nuts, seeds, olive oil and other unsaturated fats which have been shown to improve cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease. 

On the Lighter Side

Final Thoughts

Last Sunday kicked off NEDA's annual eating disorder awareness week and it will last until this upcoming Saturday. This year's theme is "It's Time To Talk About It". Most people don't realize that eating disorders will affect 30 million Americans will struggle with an eating disorder some point in their lives whether it's bulimia, anorexia or binge eating disorder. Spreading awareness is key for those who suffer and for those who don't. Check out the NEDA website for more information and help us spread the word!



Recipe of the Month:
The Ultimate Unbaked Brownies

What's February without chocolate? These brownies require a few healthy ingredients and are done in 10 minutes!


  • 2 1/2 cups loosely packed pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 6 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4-1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine the dates, walnuts, 6 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, water and salt in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down as needed- it might seem dry at first, but don't add any extra water.  
  2. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan, or line the pan with parchment or wax paper. Transfer dough and press very firmly until dough is evenly distributed in the baking pan. 
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine remaining cocoa and vanilla extract with the maple syrup and oil. Stir until mixture forms a paste (this is the frosting). Spread evenly over dough in the baking pan. 
  4. Refrigerate brownies for at least 2 hours, to set. Leftovers can stay covered at room temperature for a day, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge, or 1-2 months in the freezer. 
lisa brown