Full-fat dairy products are something many of us have learned to avoid, and we choose dairy that is low fat or fat-free instead. But even this is starting to change in medical studies, and the most recent research now is suggesting that full-fat dairy—for example, whole milk—is healthier than the low fat varieties.
In fact there have been indications in the medical literature for a few years what we thought was true about dairy fat might actually be wrong. Now, two big medical studies have just been published in influential medical journals that come to the same conclusion: full fat dairy might actually be healtier.
The first study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on 24 February 2016, wanted to see if people who ate high fat dairy really ended up heavier than people who ate low-fat dairy. They studied 18,438 women over an average of 11 years. All these women were part of the ongoing Women’s Health Study, begun at Harvard Medical School in 1993.
The researchers found that the women who said they ate the highest fat dairy products had an 8% lower risk of being overweight or obese at the end of the 11-year study period, compared with the women who ate the most low-or no-fat dairy.
The second study was published in the medical journal Circulation on 22 March 2016 and involved 3333 adult men and women studied over an average of 15 years. Here the researchers wanted to see the relationship between a high fat dairy intake and the chance of developing diabetes. The surprising results were that the individuals who ate high fat dairy were over 40% less likely to develop diabetes over the 15 years.
These studies together suggest that people who typically consume, for example, ice cream and whole milk, have a significantly lower chance of becoming overweight and diabetic than people who drink no-fat or low-fat milk. How could this be, especially since high fat products contain more calories?
Why full-fat dairy may be healthier
The scientists are not yet sure of the reasons, but the principal theory is that high fat foods make us more full, so we end up eating less calories overall. The thinking is that people who stick to low-fat products make up for that by eating more sugars and excess carbohydrates, which are, in the body, then converted to sugars and stored as fat!
Another reason could be that somehow the high fat intake makes our tissues more sensitive to the hormone insulin. Thereby, our internal insulin works more efficiently, and it is easier for our bodies to lower our blood sugar level (which is the job of insulin).
More studies are being done in this area, and we will keep you informed here in the blog as new information comes out. In the meantime, this research gives you good support if you want to see what happens in your own body if you start eating more ice cream, full-fat yogurt, cheeses, and whole milk.
See also in ProcuraMed:
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