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Got Milk? Make Sure It’s Whole, Research Says

Got Milk? Make Sure It’s Whole, Research Says

Think whole, full-fat milk leads to a full-fat waistline? Think again. Recent research concludes that consuming whole-fat dairy is actually linked to reduced body fat.

One study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, looked at obesity rates in over 1,700 men age 40-60 years old over a period of 12 years. The study found that the men who consumed high-fat milk, butter, and cream had lower rates of developing obesity compared to those who rarely or never consumed high-fat dairy.

And another paper, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, looked at data from 16 different studies that examined the relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease. The researchers didn’t find data supporting the hypothesis that a diet of high-fat dairy foods contributes to obesity and heart disease risk. In fact, 11 of the 16 studies showed a link between high-fat dairy and a lower risk of obesity.

Executive vice president of the National Dairy Council Greg Miller tells NPR of one possible explanation, saying “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.”

It could also have to do simply with satiety — higher levels of fat in food make us feel fuller, perhaps causing us to eat less as a result.

Whatever it is, it seems milk consumption is trending towards the whole-fat variety. CEO of Organic Valley George Siemon tells NPR that his company’s sales of whole-fat milk are up 10 percent—and sales of skim milk are falling.

What’s in your fridge—are you a whole milk fan, or are you sticking to skim until there’s more evidence in favor of high-fat dairy?


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Read more: Conditions, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Obesity

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.


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10:10AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

I don't drink cow's milk; I use almond & coconut milk. I do however drink Keifer & recently started eating Greek yogurt. Both of the former are low-fat types. I read somewhere a while back that the conjugated linoleic acids that are in full fat dairy products is what the reasoning behind one's body burning the fat off & not storing it; but that the efficiency of this is not to proof because for one, it would have to be done in moderation (which many ppl do not do), & it has to be balanced w/ the proper omega fatty acid profile, such as: a high omega 3 intake from healthy oils like olive, avacodo, coconut. If the intake of omega 6 oils from vegetable oils are higher (as with the big majority of the american diet), & not in balance w/ the aforementioned omega fatty acids, then it will all be off kilter & therefore NOT a healthy practice of eating. It's all in the whole, & not the sum, balance is everything. Which seems to be a big American culture issue.

9:28AM PST on Feb 27, 2014

Make that full fat organic grass fed milk, raw if at all possible to get! (you may be surprised what is near you, check out listings on for local farms or farms who can deliver to your door. I cannot drink the pasteurized stuff anymore, it feels so wrong by comparison and makes me sick, while raw milk, all of its enzymes intact, does not. Even people who have been told they are lactose intolerant often find they can digest raw milk because these enzymes have not been destroyed by pasteurization. Also full fat raw milk has been helping me lose weight. The low-fat high-carb diets still being pushed are a death trap and a path to obesity.

9:25AM PST on Feb 27, 2014


6:40AM PST on Feb 27, 2014

Make that full fat organic certified raw milk. The fat reduced has been the harbinger of a multitude of disease. Just another industry ruse. The extracted fat was wanted to make the insanely rape priced cheeses. At the same time "coffee cream", whipping cream, and "ice cream" became a chemical soup conglomeration. Another example of gocernment and business via lobbyists working hard to ensure max profits for them and trash for us.
One more thing ONLY Blood Type B people can safely drink milk. Diabetes Vascular Disease and Obesity for the rest.

6:01PM PST on Feb 26, 2014

LOL Sandra.."granola lifestyle" sounds grand..and is a true reflection of this article.."whole milk" ..whole as in whole (holistic) product...our bodies need it all.

4:33PM PST on Feb 26, 2014

Ros, similar with my husband, not so much for Dr.s or meds but didn't have great eating habits so I have had to ease him into my 'granola' lifestyle (laughs).

2:47PM PST on Feb 26, 2014

Thanks, for the article Sandra..I do agree with your diet over supplementation where possible, we do actually have 3-4 fish meals a week and also sardines with lunch..I have been eating the same way I was bought up organic, fresh, whole foods were possible..cook from soft drinks, no processed snacks, in glass, as little plastic in the household as father was a fanatic..fresh everything, air, sun. My husband was raised the total opposite..modern science & medicine can fix everything...a Doctor would hand him a script and he would take it without question...because that will prevent everything..introduced supplements as a form of prescription medication..has worked well.

11:08AM PST on Feb 26, 2014

Ros, Here is an article you may find interesting regarding fish oil supplementation. Personally, I stopped using fish oil supplements in favour of using dietary sources, my goal being a diet that provides our nutrition over supplementation where that is possible.

10:38PM PST on Feb 25, 2014

6. Yes, Genetics plays an important role..but just as important is the start your parents give you after can have the best genetics but if your parents let you watch countless hours of TV/computers..drinking soft drinks and eating junk food..and a totally poor diet..they don't save you in the end either..

10:25PM PST on Feb 25, 2014

Thank you Julian for your response..yes, there are several points that I did need correcting on and I might add that going back and forth over your comments has led to some confusion..
"It's more expensive to harvest it from plants, because the fish eat the plants, thereby concentrating the D3, so it's cheaper to produce it". 1. Cod Liver oil , Hypol, etc are normally given to correct a vitamin A deficiency - it is toxic in high doses. It does contain Vitamin D as well as you stated. 2. True..better to refer to it as Omegas than fish oil..have known a few that think Cod Liver are the same. Has only been promoted as Heart Health here in Australia..since 2008 prior to that for it's cholesterol and anti inflammatory properties. 3. No, I mentioned to keep the price down on these supplements they normally only use the main active ingredient and not the whole (as in holistic) product.. 4. Yes, it should of been deficient as you stated..he takes Omega's (over 15years), then started taking a Vitamin D supplement recently..which he has now dropped along with sunscreen and gets it from the sun..levels fine now..was concerned about the skin cancer so many. 5. Yes an holistic approached is best. I agreed in an earlier post re load bearing exercises doesn't have to be organised..walking around, gardening, basically staying upright more than sitting, which is what I do plus go for the occasional swim. 6. Yes, Genetics plays an important role..but just as important is the start

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