The jury's out on just how good dairy is for us at all. But if you or your kids are going to have what my mother-in-law calls "cow milk," or regular butter, or real ice cream, it should the full fat kind -- if you want to be a healthy weight, that is. I know, it sounds completely backwards, but that's what researchers in Sweden claim after doing a study over a 12-year period.
It bears noting that the research was done on middle-aged men, but still. They found that the subjects who used whole milk, cream, and butter had a lower risk of becoming obese than did people who avoided fattier dairy products. At the same time, a European review of 16 studies found most of them showed a lower risk of obesity for people who consumed high-fat dairy products. And if that wasn't enough, a study last year found kids who drank low-fat milk gained weight! Whoa!
It's actually not as nutty as it sounds, though. The crazier thing is to be pounding not just dairy but just about any food labeled low or fat-free. As Esther Blum explains in her new book Cave Women Don't Get Fat:
... there’s currently such an outcry about highly processed foods that are marketed as “no fat” or “low fat.” These alleged diet foods are filled with sugars, salt, and unhealthy fat substitutes, yet because they’re packaged in “low-calorie” servings, we’re mislead to believe that they’re somehow good for our bodies. Oh, if this were only true! But it’s not.
And the problem isn't just that these "low or no fat" foods are filled with lots of added sugar or other garbage. It's also that they're not nearly as satiating as regular, even saturated fat-filled dairy ... or any food or that matter, such as unsaturated fat-filled nuts or avocados (which dieters used to be brainwashed to steer clear of!). Plus, we might all be more inclined to overeat something labeled "low-fat" thinking it's not as "bad" as the full-fat version.
More from The Stir: 6 Reasons Why Skim Milk Is a Total Scam
A National Dairy Council executive also told NPR the link between full-fat dairy and lowered obesity may be attributed to "bioactive substances in the milk fat" that may help us burn off the fat. Something to consider!
All in all, no matter how you feel about this milk study, it's a wake-up call that maybe we've had everything upside down and backwards for years now. Whole, "clean" foods are what our bodies need to function properly and be fit and health ... even if they're "full" of fat.
What kind of dairy do you buy for you and your kids? Does this make you want to switch?
Image via calliope/Flickr