Health and Fitness Series: Milk, Cheese, and the Fatty American Diet

United States

In light of Jack Ryan’s post below on the obesity epidemic in Mexico, I want to take a look at one of the biggest reasons why obesity is spiraling out of control here in the United States, as I suspect the same culprit is responsible.

This excerpt comes from Michael Moss’s book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. You will never walk the same way through the aisles of a grocery story after reading this.

“Take milk, for instance. Though the 1960s, sales of milk plunged as it bore the brunt of public concerns about fat, both in terms of its calories and its links to heart disease. At the same time, however, the dairy industry figured out a way to soften this blow to their business by putting the phrases “low-fat” and “2 percent” on milk in which a little of the fat had been removed. The popularity of this defatted milk grew so fast that it now outsells all other types of milk, including skim, which has no fat at all. But there is a marketing scheme at work in this: The “2 percent” labeling may lead you to believe that 98 percent of the fat is removed, but in truth the fat content of whole milk is only a tad higher, at 3 percent. Consumer groups who urge people to drink 1 percent or nonfat milk have fought unsuccessfully to have the 2 percent claim barred as deceptive.”

As obesity became more common in America in the 1970s and 1980s, Americans attempted to reduce their daily calorie intake by abandoning whole milk. The dairy industry responded by putting their deceptive “2 percent milk” on store shelves, but were left with the problem of figuring out how to get consumers to ingest the excess fat calories from the whole milk they had abandoned.

“Americans now eat as much as 33 pounds of cheese and pseudo-cheese products a year, triple the amount we consumed in the early 1970s. During that same time, beverage makers managed to only double the per capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks to 50 gallons a year; in fact, in recent years they have seen a dropoff, as consumers switched to other sugary drinks. America’s intake of cheese, by contrast, continues to swell, increasing 3 pounds per person per year since 2001.

The nutritional math, when it comes to cheese, is staggering, too. Depending on the specific product, 33 pounds of cheese delivers as much as 66,000 calories, which is enough energy, on its own, to sustain an adult for a month. Those 33 pounds also have as many as 3,100 grams of saturated fat, or more than half a year’s recommended maximum intake. Cheese has become the single largest source of saturated fat in the American diet, though it is hardly the only culprit. Day in and day out, Americans on average are exceeding the recommended maximum of fat by more than 50 percent.”

Cheese is now the most powerful fat delivery system in the American diet.

“The soaring amounts of cheese we eat is no accident. It is the direct result of concerted efforts by the processed foods industry, which has labored long and hard to transform the very essence of cheese and its role in our diet. …

By 1985, in fact, much of the country was trying to avoid high-fat dairy products. Women and girls had led the way. In a long, slow – and, for the dairy industry, painful – shift that started in the 1950s, they had come to see milk as an easy and obvious sacrifice in watching their weight. A 12-ounce glass has 225 calories. Starting in the 1960s, the fat in milk was linked to heart disease as well. The same glass has 7.5 grams of saturated fat, or about half a day’s recommended maximum. (Milk is also surprisingly flush with sugar; 12 ounces has four teaspoons of sugar from the lactose in the milk. By 1988, for the first time ever, grocery stores were selling more lower-fat milk than whole milk.”

This effort by Americans to cut back on fat thrust the dairy industry into a crisis. It was suddenly drowning in surplus whole milk, as well as the fat that was being taken out of whole milk to make the skim …

When the cows started making more milk than anyone wanted to drink and the milk that people did want to drink being stripped of its fat, the industry devised an ingenious solution: It started turning it into cheese, which soaks up milk and milkfat like a sponge. …

To triple per capita consumption to 33 pounds, cheese would have to be eaten much faster, in newer, more convenient ways, and in much looser formulations …

One of the biggest free-for-alls took place in the freezer aisle. Frozen pizza used to be made with the bare minimum of cheese, as manufacturers were always looking for ways to save on ingredient costs. But the new math on cheese turned that upside down. The more cheese that was added, the better the pizzas sold, and the better they sold, the more Kraft could charge. Kraft and other companies started turning out frozen pizza that boasted two, three, and four different cheeses, including even a tangy blue, and then they tucked more cheese into the crust. By 2009, frozen pizza had reached $4 billion in annual sales, with Kraft alone pulling in $1.6 billion from DiGiorno and its other brands, and there appeared to be no end in the sight.”

Since the 1980s, Kraft and other food companies have figured out a staggering number of ways to put excess cheese (produced by genetically modified cows that pump out 6 gallons a milk a day) into the American diet.

“The Department of Agriculture, however, tracks all the basic staples that Americans eat, and it has kept a close watch on cheese. And nearly every year, the numbers in its tally set a record. Where Americans, on average, were eating 11 pounds of cheese a year in 1970, they were up to 18 pounds in 1980, 25 pounds by 1990, 30 pounds in 2000, and 33 pounds by 2007, when the rates dipped in the recession before resuming their surge.

Remarkably, the growth in cheese has mirrored the plunge in whole milk, which American consumers identified – mistakenly, it turned out – as the primary source of the saturated fat they wanted to avoid. Milk drinking went from 25 gallons per person in 1970 to the current average of 6. For the country as a whole, trading cheese for milk has been a poor bargain indeed. The net gain per person at the current rates is roughly 200 grams of saturated fat a year. Few people, of course, realized how much more cheese they were getting. But by 2010, the floodgates for cheese – as an ingredient – were opened wide.”

Kraft has even adopted Coca Cola’s terminology of soda addicts and micro targets “heavy users” of cheese with new customized lines of cheese products. You would be amazed at what goes on behind the scenes at these food corporations who compete with each other for “stomach share.”

Note: The same food corporations that are operating in the United States are selling their products in Mexico. The Southern diet was already high in fried fatty foods. I suspect the Mexican diet is unusually high in cheese.

Combine that with this push by the food industry to load their products with excess levels of salt, sugar, and fat to make them more alluring and to defeat their competition and obesity and its associated diseases is the inevitable result.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. There is nothing wrong with the traditional southern diet that favored fatty animal products like butter, cheese, milk, whole eggs, bacon, etc.

    The country actually got fatter when the the left-wing vegans and animal worshipers took over the machinery of government and started pushing their non-sense on the American public.

  2. You guys keep following the dietary guidelines of Yankee vegetarians, Jewish doctors, and liberal cryhard authors…keep yourselves wrapped up in this endless nonsense while all of the problems continue unabated…

    If you’ve got a lick of sense and care about both nutrition and freedom, you’ll be sure to check out the Weston A. Price foundation. There’s certainly a way for you to become involved, locally. It seems to me that the question of diet, health, and nutrition simultaneously stops and starts here. Check out what they’re doing. Check out what non-profit groups like the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund are doing. STOP buying, quoting, reading books written by urban Yanks who do not live an agrarian life, have no direct relationship with food and nature, and parrot false nutritional information issued by doctors who aren’t even trained in nutrition to begin with.

    Can a profit be made poisoning people, genetically modifying crops, placing patents, and legally taking action against native farmers when the plants naturally cross-pollinate? Absolutely. Is it boiled down to a science? Absolutely. Nothing exists in a vacuum. All of the issues are connected — and they are consistent.

  3. Milk, Lamb, Beef, eggs it’s all good you. The thing to avoid is cereal and the sugar that gets processed into most of it. I get really fucking light headed if I don’t eat eggs for breakfast. Cereal makes me feel ill. I’m trim and fit too.

  4. What was ever so bad about whole milk? I ‘ve been drinking whole milk my entire life, and I still wear a 30 waist.

    I only buy milk that comes from Michigan dairy farms, who don’t use artificial growth hormone on their cattle.

  5. I loved milk as a kid, but quit drinking milk as a teenager because I thought it was watery and tasteless. I didn’t make the connection to everyone switching to 2% or skim milk.

    Years later, I discovered that what I was missing was whole milk. Whole milk tastes delicious, is filling (so I don’t feel a need to snack later), and the fats in it are very high quality. It’s hard to believe that there is only a 1% difference between whole and 2%, though. 2% tastes like milk-flavored water–I think it’s missing more than 1% of something, whatever it is.

  6. All overweight have too much circulating insulin. From whence does it originate?

    Refining. It grinds up food in a quasi-digestion process. This produces small molecules that enter the blood stream too fast- causing insulin overflow. This causes fat storage and a lowering of blood glucose.

    The refined foods act like they have been PRE-DIGESTED.

    That lightheadedness is horrible. I’ve had it for decades and can’t completely shake it.

  7. Coons don’t digest milk very well do they? Asians get sick from it. However it’s basically a staple for the Caucasian. Eggs and milk, if I don’t have both nearly everyday I’ll tend to feel poorly.

  8. The main causes of obesity are a sedentary lifestyle and eating too many calories. The average meal at most restaurants could feed two or three people. My grandparents, who were all thin, ate like birds compared to people today.

    The people pushing this “it’s all the fault of the evil food companies” line are from my neck of the woods. It’s how their Marxists brains are wired — everything wrong in the world comes down to big business. They want all power resting in their left-wing talons so they can create their multi-racial, multi-cultural, sexually ambiguous utopia.

  9. This is another thing that diamond glossed over. The white is a pastoralist Shepard.
    Domesticated dogs were first adopted as herding aides. The sheep is clearly our oldest domesticated meat source. Our ancestors evolved along with this set to creatures–especially if you are from western Europe. Maybe some fishermen too, but primarily the sheep and goat. The charioteers were clearly herdsmen too. They moved and fought like shepards manipulating a flock. That’s our aristocracy, horse tamers who transferred their livelihood as herdsmen into a combat method for surrounding and dominating footsloggers. Grain farmers come into it somewhere in between, growing a surplus for city life, but the basic bio-genetic material was formed from herding domesticated mammals.

  10. The problem isn’t milk or fat. As has been noted above and many times over, refined carbohydrates became the majority caloric component of the average American’s diet about 80 years ago. If you eat a slice of white bread or a cracker, you may as well be eating candy. I all turns to simple sugar and when eaten regularly, ones’ blood sugar levels become under-damped, swinging wildly from extremes, which causes people to get frequent “munchies”.

  11. It would be better to eat a sweet straight up. At least that satisfies the appetite. Lamb and eggs though. It’s deeply rooted in our physical constitution.

  12. Poor old goats. That’s a nice lean meat though. Taste’s no different to Lamb just less fatty. Interesting to see that the Jamaicans do consume it. So its a golden circle diet speciality, eh Hunter?

  13. Even folks who workout an hour everyday have a sedentary lifestyle. As if a lazy hour in the gym offsets 12 hours of sitting on your ass at work and while watching tv

  14. High protein and low carbs was the FDA guidelines. Corporations changed all that for profits because carbs are non-perishable sits in store shelves for months and in the waistline as well.

  15. TGC’s comments are correct.

    Historically, Whites (among all races) have been able to digest cow’s milk (and related foods) because we are genetically adapted to it.

    All Western cultures, from Greece to Ireland, have some sort of lactose-full foods in their diets.

    If you want to tie in CI insights, that’s why the Promised Land was one full of MILK and honey.- bees and beef, if you will. God’s Covenant people are genetically disposed to make use of that protein source.

    Where our problems come from, are due to the GMO nature of modern Wheat, and the pasteurization of milk/homogenization. Weston Price had it correct. RAW milk is easily digested, and does not give that ‘milk allergy’ reaction.

    Also, read “Wheat Belly.” THAT is where the issues lie, these days. Doubt me? TRY and Get off gluten from ‘Franengrains,’ (if you can) and watch all problems almost disappear in a matter of days. Next start massive introduction of probiotics from naturally fermented milk products (!) such as yogurt, kefir, the whey from making cheese added to peanut butter, etc. and ADHD issues, excema, etc. start to go away. Again I can attest to this.

  16. I agree that grocery store prepared food is an abomination. Fat is not the problem. I’ve advocated eating lard. I stand by this “compared” to the standard prepared foods in the stores. Why? The type of fat and overload of carbs from wheat and corn. See this report on types of fats from Joseph Hibbeln the acting chief of the section on Nutritional NeuroSciences for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health.

    There are two kinds of diets that people seem to do well on. One is high fat-low carb. Here’s a story on Indigenous Diets. All fat and protein. Pemmican.

    One thing I’m not sure about is will this clog your arteries. I know common knowledge says yes but this is not a closed case. Several of the reports that started this idea were by vegetarians who hated meat eating and lard especially. Some of the reports did not include data that supported eating “more” saturated fats. See this page about a study done in the 60’s that data was left out of.

    Study: double mortality after replacing animal fats with vegetable fats
    The other type of diet you eat all carbs but low fat. This also seems to work but you can’t eat fat in but the most miniscule amounts. I’m not sure I could live on such a diet. One thing for sure if your going to eat any oils use olive or flax seed oil. I believe most of the corn, safflower, etc. oils are poison. The dietary data is in flux but they’ve been telling us for fifty years to not eat fat. Same as them telling us Negros are just like Whites. Hard to change their story so late in the game.

    P.S. Sugar is poison. Yes I like sugar but it’s really bad for you. I miss coca-cola on ice.

  17. Just finished an exquisite 1/2 gallon tub of Blue Bunny pistachio-almond ice cream. YUM! Probably 6 months of saturated fat all at once. I’ll go out for a bike ride later tonight, plus a lite work-out before bed, a heavy workout before breakfast and, as usual, feel great tomorrow. When, as usual, I will eat a healthy mix of good food and utter junk.

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