If you want to add protein to your diet and build strong teeth and bones drinking cow’s milk is a great way. It has also been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke and lower rates of obesity. However, experts are divided and their opinions regarding milk differ a lot. Now, according to the latest research — drinking low-fat milk is associated with a longer life span.
Milk consumption was associated with telomere length, a sign of biological aging according to a new study made by Larry Tucker, PhD, a professor of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University who tracked 5,834 adults.
Those who drank low-fat milk had longer telomeres (and less biological aging) than those who drank high-fat milk, including 2% and whole milk shows the research, published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.
Differences between low-fat and high-fat milk
A significant difference in the amount of saturated fat between low-fat and high-fat milk could be the reason for the decrease in biological aging says Tucker. “High-fat dairy is higher in fat than people realize,” he says. “Unlike other foods that calculate fat based on percentage of calories, milk fat is calculated by the percent of milk’s weight.”
Did you know that diets that are high in fat — especially saturated fat — are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, negative changes to gut bacteria, lower breast cancer survival rates and even neurological changes in the brain? The recommendation of U.S. Dietary Guidelines is to choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cheese.
Is whole milk still healthy?
Co-author Marcia de Oliveira Otto, PhD, assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health explains: Recommendations to lower saturated-fat consumption have been primarily based on studies showing that higher intakes of saturated fat present in whole-fat dairy products raise LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, which could raise risk of heart disease,”.
Adults with higher levels of heptadecanoic fatty acid in their blood were 42% less likely to die from stroke as revealed by another study.
According to research published in The Lancet, higher intake of whole milk and full-fat yogurt was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events and total mortality.
De Oliveira Otto affirms: “An important take-home message from our study is making judgments about whether foods are healthy solely based on fat content leads to confusion and misinformation,”. “Since dairy foods are important sources of essential nutrients, reducing dairy consumption may not necessarily lead to better health.”
It might be a good idea to opt for skim and low-fat dairy if you have heart disease or are at risk for it. Otherwise, healthy adults can continue to include full-fat dairy as part of a well-balanced diet.