Whole Milk or Skim Milk?

Is Whole Milk or Skim Milk Healthier?

By  Michael Joseph, MSc

Clearly a contentious issue, there are many alternate opinions on the best dairy option for our health.

But what do the studies show?

Studies on Dairy and Obesity

Is whole milk really fattening?

One study featured 12,829 participants who recorded their dairy intake for a 1-year period. The hypothesis was that subjects drinking greater quantities of dairy fat would gain more weight. However, the results were different to the expected outcome.

While the participants who drank more than three servings of milk per day had a greater increase in body mass, this was only in those drinking skim milk. In other words, only skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not.

Additionally, a 2013 study reviewed 16 different studies on a high-fat dairy intake. In 11 of these studies, high-fat dairy intake was inversely associated with obesity. The authors concluded that “the evidence does not support the hypothesis that dairy fat contributes to obesity or cardiovascular disease”.

Studies on Dairy and the Heart

A study aiming to establish links between milk drinking and vascular disease reviewed ten existing studies.

The combined trends presented in these studies showed that there is no convincing evidence milk is harmful, and that milk drinking may even have a positive impact on heart disease risk. Further, a 2014 study reviewed 18 pieces of prior research, with the results showing that total dairy intake did not contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Markedly, the authors concluded that the body of evidence suggests full-fat dairy—whether milk, cheese or yogurt—may be inversely related to cardiovascular disease

Studies on Dairy and Stroke

A 2015 study examined links between dairy consumption and stroke in an elderly population. Low-fat dairy was “not significantly related” to the incidence of stroke, but high-fat dairy was “significantly inversely related

To make this clear: the data regarding low-fat dairy was mixed, whereas data on high-fat dairy showed it reduced the risk. In another paper, a prospective case-control study was designed to evaluate risk for stroke in relation to plasma dairy fat. The authors of this particular study noted that the idea of an inverse relationship between stroke and milkfat “may seem paradoxical due to the high amounts of saturated fat in milk.” Nevertheless, the results of their study confirmed this so-called “paradox,” as once again full-fat dairy appeared to have no links to stroke whatsoever. Following the results, the authors remarked: “At present, we hypothesize that estimated milk fat intake is associated with a lower risk of first event stroke (13).

Studies on Dairy and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is a global epidemic with incidence rates rapidly rising across the world. In fact, the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980.

Could this be why?

Perhaps, but moving on… an interesting study from 2014 analyzed dairy fat in relation to the incidence of type 2 diabetes. A total of 194,458 people were followed, 15,156 of who went on to develop diabetes.

The study found that neither low-fat nor high-fat dairy had any association with diabetes except for yogurt. The results noted that “yogurt intake was consistently and inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk.” (15)

In a 2016 study, the American Heart Association (AHA) tested the hypothesis that higher plasma dairy fats are associated with reduced diabetes risk.

Their results confirmed this to be the case. The AHA remarked that their findings highlight the need to understand the possible health benefits of dairy fat.

Dairy and All-Cause Mortality

A 2010 Australian study found that there was no significant or consistent relationship between all-cause mortality and dairy intake.

However, the study did provide one interesting stat. Compared to the participants with the lowest intake of dairy fat, those with the highest intake of dairy fat had a reduced death rate from cardiovascular disease.


It’s immediately clear from these studies that the current dietary guidelines are poles apart from what the latest studies show.

Here is a quick summary:

  • Full-fat milk had no association with chronic disease or mortality in any of these studies.
  • Full-fat dairy was also inversely associated with diabetes and heart disease in many of these studies.
  • Low-fat dairy had either no association or mixed data.
  • It appears that consumption of dairy fat is possibly health-protective.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I would choose full-fat whole milk every single time. Skim milk may be lower in calories, but it’s also lower in naturally-occurring fat-soluble vitamins. To sum up, dairy fat appears to have health benefits, and whole milk tastes a lot better than skim.


WTF is INFLAMMATION | But seriously, we keep hearing the word, lets understand it (Why The Fuss of course)

We keep hearing that inflammation is the cause for the diseases we are experiencing, and they can come from any number of lifestyle factors. But if we REALLY want to look after our health, we need to know what inflammation means, where it is coming from, and what we can do about it that is easy and sustainable.

From a simple bump on the knee, a bacterial infection, a persistent illness we cant quite put our finger on, a stressful day at work, a broken heart. Whether its pain, injury, or illness, our bodies respond with this magic word, inflammation.

You’ll be familiar with the word because in Paleo Keto circles we fling it around like its going out of fashion, but for very good reasons. Heart disease, obesity, depression, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, insulin resistance are all linked to inflammation.

Its important to note that inflammation is a common, natural, innate response to injury, pain, illness, stress and in fact is quite necessary for our survival.

Inflammation is our body’s way of saying it isn’t gonna take injury or illness just lying down. The first responder is the inflammatory process. yep, so that includes pain, swelling and redness. It is essential we experience it.

So, cuts and bruises aside, lets delve into the INFLAMMATION that revolves around the Meals, Mindset and Moves!

Let me know if any of these cases of inflammation sound familiar to you! And you’ll also see my tips for overcoming them!


We are talking toxic diets here. Those high in sugar, processed carbs, industrial fats, gluten, processed meats. You know what to do, EAT REAL FOOD!


Poor sleep is linked to elevated inflammatory markers. Either we go to bed too late, wake up way too early, or we use too many electronics late at night and disrupt the quality of what little sleep we get. Or a cocktail of all three at once. Turn the TV off, leave the phone out of the room, and truly sleep.


The gut houses the bulk of the human immune system. When it’s unhealthy, so is your inflammatory regulation. Don’t forget to drink broth, celebrate high fibre foods and have your daily fermented vegetables for a healthy microbiome.


Poor Omega 3 intake means insufficient production of anti-inflammatory response hormones and an uneven inflammatory response to normal stimuli. Eat more macadamias and walnuts, they are packed with healthy omega 3’s! Also, grass fed beef is the hero for good quality omega 3’s!


High Omega 6 intake, especially when combined with low omega 3 intake means excessive inflammatory response, in particular to normal stimuli. So avoid the toxic seed oils!


Too many of us live sedentary lives. A lack of activity is strongly linked to systemic, low-grade inflammation. Take the stairs! Start small, and work your way up to look forward to moving each and every day!


Over-training is a form of chronic inflammation. Listen to your body and allow it to repair and recover. My days OFF from exercise really inspire me and fuel me to have an amazing workout the very next day!


Bills piling up, workload horrific, traffic, friendships, relationships. It can all add up and it doesn’t seem to let up or go away. And if it becomes too much for you to handle, your body will have a physiological, inflammatory response to emotional stress. Practice mindfulness, lay in the ocean, breathe in the fresh air!


We live in a world where we are always switched “on.” You may think you’re relaxing because your body is stationary, but you’re not relaxing. Turn off your devices, and get back to nature and let you truly re-connect to you.

So even though as humans we are built to protect ourselves with an acute inflammatory response, all these lifestyle factors can throw our health off track and set us up for chronic inflammation.

I hope you learnt something new, and be sure to comment below with any questions or tag a friend who you think might value this information!

Salt Detox Bath Recipe

¼ cup sea salt or Himalayan salt
¼ cup Epsom salt
¼ cup baking soda
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
favourite essential oils if desired (I use 10 drops of peppermint or lavender)

Salt Detox Bath Instructions

Dissolve salt, Epsom salt, and baking soda in boiling water in a quart size jar and set aside. Fill tub with warm/hot water and add apple cider vinegar. Pour salt mixture in and add essential oils if using.

Soak in bath for 30 minutes or as long as desired. Note that with any detox bath, you may feel tired or lightheaded when you get out. I don’t recommend doing this while home alone or before going somewhere in case you are tired or need help.

This bath is great for soothing skin irritation, boosting magnesium levels, and overall detoxing.

Who’s on your team?

Studies show that losing weight is more achievable in a controlled supportive environment!

Have you tried to lose weight alone, and always end up on the weightloss roller coaster?

“It’s not to say it can’t be done, but losing weight on your own is a very difficult thing to accomplish,” says study author Craig Johnston, Ph.D., researcher in the department of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “Finding a weight-loss program that works for you puts you around people who can support and motivate you.”

Our program provides you with all the support you need to keep you motivated and on track!


CarbChoice may offer you support for managing how your body processes starchy carbohydrates.

Fitgenes has provided genetic test reports from Australia since 2009, and is a world leader in developing genetic profile reports that provide dietary, lifestyle and exercise interventions based on the role of the AMY1 gene CNV in starchy carbohydrate metabolism.

Scientific studies have shown that variations in the human salivary amylase gene (AMY1) differ based on populations which have traditionally eaten high starch diets, compared to those who have traditionally eaten low starch diets (Perry et al. 2007). Copy number variations within the AMY1 gene impact salivary amylase activity (Yang et al. 2015; Santos et al. 2012), which influences how well the body breaks down and processes starch.  Copy number variations and amylase activity can also impact the oral perception of starch leading to nutritional differences (Mandel et al. 2010).

Simply, some people can process starchy carbohydrates better than others, and this can impact their nutrition, dietary choices and health.

Amylase activity, and the ability to process starch, has been demonstrated to have impact on BMI (Bonnefond et al. 2017) and hence AMY1 copy number can impact on the related issues of BMI, obesity and weight management (Falchi et al. 2014;  Mejía-Benítez et al. 2015; Viljakainen et al., 2015; Marcovecchio et al. 2016). Low amylase individuals may even be at greater risk of insulin resistance and diabetes if they maintain a high starch diet (Mandel and Breslin 2012).

The unique CarbChoice profile report contains:

  • An easy to understand visual classification of the ability for starchy carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Data on typical carbohydrate content of many common foods.
  • Contains menu suggestion and meal plans.
  • suggests potential exercise interventions (if required) to upregulate amylase activity


We can perform this simple swab in the clinic and provide you with a detailed report on your CarbChoice.

Congratulations to Kate!

Congratulations Balloons - KateI’m very grateful to Kaz and the staff at Real Food Real Weightloss for tailoring a weight management plan specifically to accommodate my vegan diet.

Since starting the program I have lost 15 kg of stubborn weight that I have been carrying since having my youngest child 4 years ago. I’ve found that the meal plan is easy to stick to as I have had only the occasional hunger pang that has been easy to ignore when such great results are showing up on the scales day after day. I feel as though I will be able to keep my weight under control now as I have learned a lot about which particular foods I react negatively to and I truly have changed my attitude towards food.

Kate (37yo Burleigh Waters)

Whole-body vibration may be as effective as regular exercise

Source: The Endocrine Society

Mouse study is the first to show less strenuous alternative can benefit bone health.

hypervibe 2A less strenuous form of exercise known as whole-body vibration (WBV) can mimic the muscle and bone health benefits of regular exercise in mice, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrinology.

WBV consists of a person sitting, standing or lying on a machine with a vibrating platform. When the machine vibrates, it transmits energy to the body, and muscles contract and relax multiple times during each second.

Many people find it challenging to exercise regularly and that is contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemics. These disorders can increase the risk of bone fractures. Physical activity can help to decrease this risk and reduce the negative metabolic effects of each condition.

“Our study is the first to show that whole-body vibration may be just as effective as exercise at combating some of the negative consequences of obesity and diabetes,” said the study’s first author, Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence, Ph.D., of Augusta University in Augusta, Ga. “While WBV did not fully address the defects in bone mass of the obese mice in our study, it did increase global bone formation, suggesting longer-term treatments could hold promise for preventing bone loss as well.”

To conduct the study, researchers examined two groups of 5-week-old male mice. One group consisted of normal mice, while the other group was genetically unresponsive to the hormone leptin, which promotes feelings of fullness after eating. Mice from each group were assigned to sedentary, WBV or treadmill exercise conditions.

After a week-long period to grow used to the exercise equipment, the groups of mice began a 12-week exercise program. The mice in the WBV group underwent 20 minutes of WBV at a frequency of 32 Hz with 0.5g acceleration each day. Mice in the treadmill group walked for 45 minutes daily at a slight incline. For comparison, the third group did not exercise. Mice were weighed weekly during the study.

The genetically obese and diabetic mice showed similar metabolic benefits from both WBV and exercising on the treadmill. Obese mice gained less weight after exercise or WBV than obese mice in the sedentary group, although they remained heavier than normal mice. Exercise and WBV also enhanced muscle mass and insulin sensitivity in the genetically obese mice. Although there were no significant effects in the young healthy mice, the low-intensity exercise and WBV protocols were designed for successful completion by obese mice. These findings suggest that WBV may be a useful supplemental therapy to combat metabolic dysfunction in individuals with morbid obesity.

Journal Reference:

  1. Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence Karl H. Wenger Sudipta Misra Catherine L. Davis Norman K. Pollock Mohammed Elsalanty Kehong Ding Carlos M. Isales Mark W. Hamrick Joanna R. Erion Marlena Wosiski-Kuhn Phonepasong Arounleut Mark P. Mattson Roy G. Cutler Jack C. Yu Alexis M. Stranahan. Whole-body Vibration Mimics the Metabolic Effects of Exercise in Male Leptin Receptor Deficient Mice

Genetic Profiling for Personalised Health

fitgenesIt’s true you can’t change your genes but you can affect their expression and influence with the right nutritional, exercise and lifestyle choices.

Fitgenes examines a number of genes in categories and their influence on:

  • Inflammation – our body’s natural defence mechanism. How our body protects itself from DNA damage.
  • Vitamin D Receptors – found in almost all cells, a key influence on bone health, immunity, skin and the nervous system.
  • Methylation and Homocysteine Metabolism – influences the processing of brain chemicals determining emotional wellbeing.
  • Cardiovascular Health – the effectiveness of the system delivering oxygen and nutrients to every cell.
  • Fat and Cholesterol Metabolism – influences healthy weight management, appetite control and satiety.

Genetic Profiling for Personalised Health

Fitgenes is founded on the science of nutrigenomics and an understanding that overall health and wellbeing is determined at a cellular level.

Personalised genetic profiling offers insight in to how our body responds to diet, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. Knowing how to accurately interpret the results and turn them in to actionable, everyday health and wellbeing is where Fitgenes and our practitioners excel. Fitgenes is founded on the science of nutrigenomics and an understanding that overall health and wellbeing is determined at a cellular level. The DNA contained in our cells send ‘messages’, known as ‘gene expression’, that tells the body how to respond to external influences.

Gene expression

Gene expression is modifiable which means our genes are not our destiny, and DNA damage can be repaired. Through the right profile, interpretation and intervention planning, we can make the right nutritional, exercise and lifestyle choices for long-term health and wellbeing.

A Fitgenes practitioner’s careful interpretation of the genes included in our analysis can provide focused assistance with choosing the right exercise interventions, others on your nutritional interventions and others on your lifestyle choices.

The reports provided are comprehensive and provide a lot of information around the impact of gene expression and guidance around choosing better nutritional choices that match your genes. This is a very targeted and personalised approach to healthcare.

Discover the powerful interaction between genetics, diet and lifestyle to meet your personal health and performance goals.

Fitgenes Health and Wellbeing genetic profile report is an in-depth analysis of the genetic variations that can influence the way the body responds to what we eat, how we exercise and the way we live.

Personalised Genetic Profiling

Personalised genetic profiling offers profound insight into how your body responds to diet, exercise and lifestyle choices. Understanding how to interpret the results of your profile report and convert the information in to programs for actionable, everyday health and wellbeing, is where Fitgenes and our accredited practitioners can offer you the potential to be the best you can be.

Our approach is based on the science of nutrigenomics which looks at the interaction between your genes, nutrition and lifestyle choices, and how these influence the genes’ messages. These messages instruct your body on how it should respond to external influences such as diet and lifestyle choices.

The good news is expression of the genes analysed by Fitgenes is modifiable which means our genes are not our destiny.

Our comprehensive Health and Wellbeing Genetic Profile Report is interpreted by a Fitgenes Accredited Practitioner so they can design a personalised plan to meet individual health goals. Effectively, how your genes are reacting to external factors is analysed and reported on, and a plan to address any negative reactions prepared, based on your unique genetic profile and needs.

Fitgenes profile reports are unique and provide practitioners with a powerful resource to design health plans that are highly personalised. These are not one-size-fits-all plans modified to suit different people.

Carb Choice and Your AMY1 CNV

Fitgenes Australia is a world leader in offering the latest information on the role the AMY 1 gene plays in starch carbohydrate metabolism.  We have developed CarbChoice, a personalised genetic profile report of the AMY1 gene CNV, which determines how effectively you metabolise starch from carbohydrates.

Why should you care about your AMY1 gene?

Scientific studies have shown that variations in the human salivary amylase gene (AMY1) differ based on populations, which have traditionally eaten high starch diets, compared to those who have traditionally eaten low starch diets. Variations within the AMY1 gene influence how well your body can breakdown and process starch, meaning that some people can tolerate these carbohydrates better than others. Starch is the most common carbohydrate included in human diets – however, there is a considerable range of variation between cultures of dietary starch intake. Traditionally, “high starch” populations tended to be agricultural societies and arid region hunter-gathers, while “low starch” populations included rainforest and arctic hunter-gatherers and some pastoralists.

Importance of the AMY1 Gene,  AMY1 is a gene that produces the enzyme ‘amylase’.

What is Amylase?

Amylase is found in our saliva and plays a major role in the digestion of starch, which is a carbohydrate found in grains, legumes, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Amylase begins the process of carbohydrate metabolism in the mouth.

What will knowing my AMY1 gene copy number variation tell me?

A lower AMY1 copy number indicates:

Test your AMY 1 gene to help you understand:

  • How effectively do you metabolise and tolerate carbohydrates
  • How effectively do you metabolise and tolerate gluten
  • Do carbohydrates put you at an increased risk of being overweight
  • Do carbohydrates put you at an increased risk of having diabetes
  • How many grams of carbohydrates can you eat per day
  • What type of carbohydrates should you avoid
  • How effectively do you use your carbohydrates for energy

Who should test their AMY 1 Gene?

Anyone who wants to understand how their body metabolises and tolerates carbohydrates and make the best dietary choices for themselves.

  • Gluten intolerant or Coeliacs
  • Food sensitivities
  • Struggling to lose weight or maintain weight loss
  • Diabetic or insulin resistant
  • Gut dysbiosis under or over growth
  • Autoimmune issues
  • Persistent infections such as thrush or urinary tract infections
  • Have periodontal (gum) disease

Are you a Sugar Addict?

 By Deirdre Parkinson, Naturopath

There is often a reason for sugar cravings and it lies in the lining of your intestine. It is called “gut dysbiosis” and is caused by one or more factors…either food allergies, intestinal parasites (eek!) or a hormonal imbalance.

It is best to have yourself treated. The tests do not attract a Medicare rebate but are very specific to diagnosing the underlying causes of sugar cravings, abdominal bloating, unexplained tiredness, mood swings and even skin problems.

Another reason why sugar becomes addictive is that the body gets used to producing large amounts of insulin to remove it from the blood. Eventually the insulin isn’t effective anymore. The body begins to suffer from low energy, apathy, the shakes, and mood swings. These are due to hypoglycaemia episodes.

Did you know that a slice of bread on its own converts immediately to sugar once eaten?! Doughnuts of course are even worse!

In the meantime, try to opt for meals and snacks that have a higher protein ratio to carbs and sugars. Book in for a consultation with Deirdre to review diet, recipes, treatments and test, so as to create a whole “NEW YOU”!

Fatty Liver – A reversible and common problem

By Dr Karen Coates

Fatty Liver is a condition usually diagnosed after blood test show abnormally high levels of liver enzymes. According to the Gastroenterological Society of Australia this condition affects over 30% of adult Australians. Fatty liver is the accumulation of fat within the liver cells, a place where it is not meant to be stored.

Healthy liver cells are toxic waste recycling centres. The enzymes which do the work should be contained within these cells. When high levels of four measurable enzymes are detected in venous blood it implies that those liver cells have been damaged and enzymes ‘leaked’ out into the bloodstream. The amount of liver damage is directly proportional to the levels of these enzymes.

Ultrasound of the liver confirms the presence of unusual amounts of fat deposited around each liver cell.

As well as the medical problems which are thought to cause the problem, having a fatty liver increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer in a small number of sufferers.

Although sensible alcohol intake is an important part of treating the disease, recent studies show that the cause of the problem is overwhelmingly related to obesity and insulin resistance.

Many doctors believe that the condition is irreversible, but with treatment our Clinic regularly sees improvement in Liver Function Tests, often back to normal range. This involves a Holistic approach to the problem, involving lifestyle changes and herbal support for the liver.