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The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

Published on February 17, 2014,

NPR News has picked up on what they have called the “full-fat” paradox where the demonization of full-fat products – especially dairy – is being questioned as studies suggest higher dairy fat impact may be associated with having less body fat. You can hear their report below or read an extract of an associated article…

Hear the NPR News audio story by clicking the npr player below…


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…I have to admit, I melt at the creaminess of full-fat yogurt.

It’s an indulgence that we’re told to resist. And I try to abide. (Stealing a bite of my daughter’s YoBaby doesn’t count, does it?)

The reason we’re told to limit dairy fat seems pretty straightforward. The extra calories packed into the fat are bad for our waistlines — that’s the assumption.

But what if dairy fat isn’t the dietary demon we’ve been led to believe it is? New research suggests we may want to look anew.

Consider the findings of two recent studies that conclude the consumption of whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat.

In one paper, published by Swedish researchers in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, middle-aged men who consumed high-fat milk, butter and cream were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared with men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy.

Yep, that’s right. The butter and whole-milk eaters did better at keeping the pounds off.

“I would say it’s counterintuitive,” says Greg Miller, executive vice president of the National Dairy Council.

The second study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, is a meta-analysis of 16 observational studies. There has been a hypothesis that high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity and heart disease risk, but the reviewers concluded that the evidence does not support this hypothesis. In fact, the reviewers found that in most of the studies, high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity.

“We continue to see more and more data coming out [finding that] consumption of whole-milk dairy products is associated with reduced body fat,” Miller says.

It’s not clear what might explain this phenomenon. Lots of folks point to the satiety factor. The higher levels of fat in whole milk products may make us feel fuller, faster. And as a result, the thinking goes, we may end up eating less.

Or the explanation could be more complex. “There may be bioactive substances in the milk fat that may be altering our metabolism in a way that helps us utilize the fat and burn it for energy, rather than storing it in our bodies,” Miller says.

Whatever the mechanism, this association between higher dairy fat and lower body weight appears to hold up in children, too…

More at: The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

Swedes Consuming Low-Fat Products Gain More Weight!

Published on February 19, 2013,

The Diet Doctor has insights from a new study from Sweden suggesting men who avoid fat have an increased risk of being obese later while those who eat a lot of saturated dairy fat are significantly more likely to remain thin. This is from the Diet Doctor….

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A newly published Swedish study has examined what Swedes eat and what happens to their weight. In the 90′s a few thousand middle aged men in rural Sweden participated in a baseline survey on their eating habits, and were followed up 12 years later in a study on how their weight had changed.

The results? People with a fear of fat (avoiding butter and drinking low-fat milk etc.) had a clearly increased risk of being obese twelve years later.

On the other hand, those who consumed a lot of saturated dairy fat (butter, whole milk and heavy whipping cream) were significantly more likely to remain thin twelve years later.

As always, correlation does not prove causation, so this study should be taken with a grain of salt. However, Swedes following the failed low-fat guidelines, consuming low-fat products like low-fat milk and low-fat margarine, were more likely to become overweight. Possibly because they were left hungrier and ate more of other, worse things.

Is anyone surprised?

More (including a link to the research) at:  Swedes Consuming Low-Fat Dairy Products Gain More Weight!

Cheese Consumption Linked With Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study

Published on July 30, 2012,

The Huffington Post reports a new study suggesting cheese eaters may have more than refined palates — they may also carry a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who reported being cheese eaters have a 12 percent lower risk of the disease than people who don’t eat cheese.

Plus, people who ate more cheese, fermented milk and yogurt in the study were also more likely to have a decreased diabetes risk than people who ate less of these foods, noted the researchers, who came from Oxford University and Imperial College London.

But overall, dairy consumption was not linked with an increased or decreased risk of diabetes, the researchers found.

The results of the study came from data from eight countries in Europe, which included 340,234 people. The researchers compared the diets of 12,403 people who went on to have diabetes in the study, with 16,835 randomly chosen people in the study. The highest cheese-eaters in the study consumed more than 56 grams of the food a day, while the lowest cheese-eaters ate fewer than 11 grams a day, the UK’s NHS Choices reported.

However, NHS Choices noted that the effect of cheese on diabetes risk may differ from country to country. For example, French cheese-eaters had a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, but UK cheese-eaters actually had a higher risk of the disease, NHS Choices reported.

In addition, the researchers did not note whether the cheese or dairy products the study participants ate were low-fat or full-fat, or how exactly eating cheese could lower the risk of diabetes, according to NHS Choices.

More at: Cheese Consumption Linked With Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk: Study

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