I consume a lot of full fat dairy. A good half of it—probably more—is fermented in some bacterial cocktail. In some places there has been resurgence in the idea of drinking lots of milk. I think anything coming from a cow is healthy. But some people believe that the lactic acid in fermented bacterial cocktails is harmful.
As well, people talk about how much milk the Maasai drank. Now the Maasai and other dairy herding cultures are healthy. Thriving off of cows and their milk and the products produced from their milk no doubt is a high saturated fat diet. I think dairy, as far as food sources go, is probably the best and safest food source. I think the rest of the cow is good, too. But with how bad fermented foods are supposed to be and limiting yourself to maybe two tablespoons of yogurt, well that sounds rather…
Thriving off of cows and their dairy is like extended breast feeding…
Babies seem healthy to me and they seem to like breast milk. How dare a mother poison her baby with lactic acid producing bacteria (Martín et al., 2003).
I’m a big believer that a theory should—if it has any ounce of credibility—reflect what we see in reality. Most of the milk drank by the Maasai was fermented. There is a problem there. Given their good health and the fact they smoke a lot gives us a couple of angles to work from. No science required, just a little logic and common sense. First, the traditional Maasai were healthy. Second they smoked a lot. In modern culture we view smoking and/or nicotine as unhealthy, so if the Maasai have an unhealthy lifestyle factor then they must be protected by something in their diet (or some other factor). But we’ll avoid the complexity of those other factors for now and focus on the diet. So the Maasai smoked, and according to those who believe that lactic acid is harmful, that is also another risk factor for disaster.
The real question is: if lactic acid is harmful despite the fact that the lactic acid producing bacteria modulate endotoxin (Schiffrin, Rochat, Link-Amster, Aeschlimann, & Donnet-Hughes, 1995), and if smoking is harmful despite the fact that nicotine modulates endotoxin (Wittebole et al., 2007), well then…we have a big problem considering that most of the calories in the traditional Maasai diet are coming from fermented milk. These guys, according to some paradigms, are literally waiting to burst giant lactic acid secreting tumors out of their eye sockets, earholes and rectums. But they don’t. Of course, we could forever go down the road of different arguments, but really the simplest answer, and an answer that agrees with other traditional healthy cultures that ate fermented dairy, is simple: lactic acid is not harmful. Much like people who eat more saturated fat tend to be healthier. Yes, people who eat butter are healthier, faster, and stronger.
Of course, what is more interesting about fermented dairy is some of the special properties those bacteria provide us with. For example, Lactobacillus plantarum found in some fermented dairy products (but mostly in fermented plant concoctions) converts linoleic acid to CLA (Kishino, Ogawa, Yokozeki, & Shimizu, 2009; Ogawa et al., 2005). Of course, CLA is useful (Belury, 2002).
I don’t know. If you are eating a low PUFA diet and you are worried about PUFA, I kind of like the idea of a little flora mopping up what I can’t humanly avoid and turning it into something useful and probably healthful.
Belury, M. A. (2002). Inhibition of Carcinogenesis by Conjugated Linoleic Acid: Potential Mechanisms of Action. J. Nutr., 132(10), 2995–2998. Retrieved from http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/10/2995.full
Kishino, S., Ogawa, J., Yokozeki, K., & Shimizu, S. (2009). Metabolic diversity in biohydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids by lactic acid bacteria involving conjugated fatty acid production. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 84(1), 87–97. doi:10.1007/s00253-009-1949-0
Martín, R., Langa, S., Reviriego, C., Jimínez, E., Marín, M. L., Xaus, J., … Rodríguez, J. M. (2003). Human milk is a source of lactic acid bacteria for the infant gut. The Journal of Pediatrics, 143(6), 754–8. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2003.09.028
Ogawa, J., Kishino, S., Ando, A., Sugimoto, S., Mihara, K., & Shimizu, S. (2005). Production of conjugated fatty acids by lactic acid bacteria. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, 100(4), 355–64. doi:10.1263/jbb.100.355
Schiffrin, E. J., Rochat, F., Link-Amster, H., Aeschlimann, J. M., & Donnet-Hughes, a. (1995). Immunomodulation of human blood cells following the ingestion of lactic acid bacteria. Journal of Dairy Science, 78(3), 491–7. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(95)76659-0
Wittebole, X., Hahm, S., Coyle, S. M., Kumar, A., Calvano, S. E., & Lowry, S. F. (2007). Nicotine exposure alters in vivo human responses to endotoxin. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 147(1), 28–34. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2006.03248.x