Could full-fat dairy products help you live longer?

Close up of a dutch black and white cow in Holland

Could this be the end of the skinny latte? For anyone who has been unenthusiastically sipping watery skim milk or forcing down carboard-flavored low-fat yogurt in an attempt to follow a healthy diet, a new study may have some good news. As with the vast majority of such studies, it’s just an observational study, meaning that it can’t prove cause and effect. But the findings are still interesting.

Heart disease and stroke are two of the top villains when it comes to chronic disease and are commonly (mistakenly) linked to diets high in saturated fats. The study, led by Professor Marcia Otto of the University of Texas, found no significant correlation between dairy fats and these two diseases.

Professor Otto tells us that her team even found evidence to the contrary:

In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke

An article by GoodFood.com, who reported on the study, made the point that low-fat dairy products often also contain large amounts of added sugar, which is a much more sensible substance to avoid if you are aiming to protect yourself from chronic disease.

A third reason to choose full-fat options is that there are some essential nutrients, particularly in this case vitamins A and D, that can only be absorbed in the presence of fat. Taking out the fat from dairy products not only strips the food of many of the vitamins that it contains naturally but also makes it more difficult to absorb those vitamins that do remain in the product. Plus, in an ironic twist, low-fat dairy products may be re-fortified with the fat-soluble vitamins that have been removed with the fat. But, as nutrionist Clarissa Lenherr points out:

Even when you choose low-fat dairy products that have been fortified with these vitamins, you may not even be absorbing them, due to the fact that the product has little fat left in it

The fat in dairy products is also satiating: it keeps you fuller for longer.

Our advice? If you choose to include dairy products in your diet, skip the tasteless, nutrient-devoid low-fat products and go straight for the high-fat versions in their natural state. Pick the highest-fat yogurts and savour that creamy texture, enjoy the rich flavors of full-fat cheese and slowly sip a cup of tea that doesn’t make you feel like you are drinking the warmed-up contents of a murky pond. Both your body and your taste buds deserve it!

Good Food: Full-fat milk could stop strokes, says study

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6 Comments

  1. Susan Sobon
    Crap article title. Dairy isnt good for humans period. Its for baby cows. Such a misleading article title. Shame on you.
    Replies: #2, #3
  2. Dairy Maid
    Shame on you. You have no idea what you are talking about,please be more informed before you comment!
  3. Chris
    "Dairy isnt good for humans period."

    You say that because you have more convincing data or because you don't care about finding scientific facts, scream out whatever you want, stuff your fingers into your ears and then scream "lalalalala!!!!"?

  4. 1 comment removed
  5. Todd
    However, I've found that it's a lot easier to get more fat in my diet than more protein. To take an example, Trader Joe's whole-milk Greek yogurt has exactly the same ingredients as their nonfat Greek yogurt, except of course for whole milk and cream instead of nonfat milk. Yet, in one cup (227g), the whole-milk yogurt has 22g fat, 12g carbs (with 10g sugar), and 8g protein, while the nonfat yogurt has 0g fat, 7g of carbs (with 6g of sugar), and 22g protein. Given that I get plenty of fat elsewhere in my keto diet, am trying to limit carbs (especially sugar), and find it hard to get enough protein, why shouldn't I prefer the nonfat yogurt to the whole fat?
  6. 1 comment removed
  7. Bill Wightman
    One pleasant way to get fat levels up is to use heavy whipping cream in tea and coffee. I do that with my 1-3 mugs of tea per day in addition to three heaping teaspoons of hydrolyzed collagen powder and raw honey. I think that the honey probably raises glucose a bit, but it is so very nice. I am certain that the cream and collagen are contributing to brain health and quick recovery from fairly rigorous aerobic exercise. I also heal from bike crashes very quickly. This has to be related to high Ascorbic acid intake along with the amino acids in the collagen powder. Heavy whipping cream can be used in any number of dishes just like olive oil, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil.
  8. Philip W. Starr
    "Dairy isnt good for humans period. Its for baby cows."

    Another ill-informed anti-milk Nazi and probably a "vegan" too. Go eat your pills, weeds and suffer the consequences of an unhealthy diet, we'll eat healthy high-fat dairy.

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