Health Sachet No 311:

Most of us were brought up believing that low-fat milk is healthier than full-fat milk.

But where was the medical evidence? When the dietary guidelines were issued in 1970s, an assumption was made that since fat is bad for health, low-fat dairy must be better than its full-fat counterpart.

Actual studies have been showing that full-fat milk is better than skimmed-milk for diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Some highlights:

  • A recent study showed 46% lesser risk of developing diabetes over 15 years for people having full-fat dairy.
  • Another study showed that consuming high-fat dairy reduced the risk of being overweight or obese by 8%.

An earlier article listed more evidence:

  • In a review of 25 studies on dairy fat, 18 of them showed lower body weights, less weight gain, or lower risk of obesity among full-fat dairy eaters. Seven studies were inconclusive; none showed low-fat dairy to be better.

What could be the reasons? The guesses are:

  • The fats may be making you feel full sooner and longer;
  • The fats may be increasing your calorie burn rate or limit the amount of fat your body stores.

One hard lesson from this:
Never judge the health effects of a food item based only on its macronutrient content, such as fat; look at the effects of that whole food.

This wrong habit comes from the pharmaceutical world where one chemical is ingested and its effects on the body are studied.

  • If you using skimmed milk, switch to full-fat milk.
  • If you are not using skimmed milk, do not add full-fat milk.