In a reprinted post on Mercola.com from 2018, Dr. Joseph Mercola takes on the long demonization of whole milk products which he says have been “incorrectly identified as a driver of obesity, heart disease and related health problems.” He writes:
Whole milk, cheese and butter have long been demonized as unhealthy, their saturated fat content incorrectly identified as a driver of obesity, heart disease and related health problems. We now know eating fat does not make you fat. Science has also demolished the idea that saturated fats clog your arteries and promote heart disease. On the contrary, these fats are important for optimal health, and combat many of today’s chronic diseases, including heart disease.
While the low-fat myth still lives, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans1 does recognize that reducing TOTAL fat intake has no bearing on obesity or heart disease risk.
Instead, the guidelines rightfully warn that sugar and refined grains are the primary culprits. Unfortunately, the guidelines fall far short by still suggesting a 10% limit on saturated fats especially, and the low-fat dairy recommendation remains. This, even though mounting research supports consumption of full-fat dairy products over low-fat ones.
Full-Fat Dairy Consumption Has No Influence on Mortality Rates
In a recent article in The Atlantic,2 senior editor Dr. James Hamblin discusses “the vindication” of full-fat dairy, and the research that’s tossing low-fat recommendations by the wayside. One of the most recent studies,3 which analyzed the blood fats in more than 2,900 adults, found the mortality rate during a 22-year period was identical regardless of their levels. “The implication is that it didn’t matter if people drank whole or skim or 2-percent milk …” Hamblin writes.
At the end of the day, consumption of dairy fats — either high or low — does not appear to influence your risk of death.
Corresponding author Marcia de Oliveira Otto, assistant professor of epidemiology, human genetics, and environmental science at the University of Texas School of Public Health, told Hamblin, “I think the big news here is that even though there is this conventional wisdom that whole-fat dairy is bad for heart disease, we didn’t find that. And it’s not only us. A number of recent studies have found the same thing.”
For example, a systematic review and meta-analysis4 published in 2014, which looked at 32 observational studies with well over half a million participants, concluded that, “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”
Otto did note, however, that whole milk is likely a healthier choice for the fact that low-fat products contain added sugars, and excessive sugar consumption, as you probably know, raises your risk of virtually all chronic disease.
Also, while dairy consumption overall had no impact on mortality, Otto’s team found certain saturated dairy fats did have specific health benefits. For example, those with higher levels of heptadecanoic acid — a component of butterfat — had a 42% lower risk of stroke. Other studies have found heptadecanoic acid may also help reverse prediabetes,5 and full-fat dairy such as whole milk has been linked to a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Read more here.
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