In This Article
Benefits of Dairy Fat
Have you ever struggled while grocery shopping, debating whether you should choose a low-fat or full-fat yogurt? Don’t worry, it’s not just you… Millions of dollars have been spent in attempt to convince us all that low-fat dairy products are somehow healthier.
While there are studies that suggest low-fat dairy offers heart protection (1), there is a growing body of evidence that shows full-fat dairy products may be better for us.
Don’t do well with dairy? It might not be the dairy, but the slow weakening of your digestive strength. In my book, Eat Wheat, I guide you step-by-step through how to safely re-introduce dairy and wheat back into your diet.
Back to the Benefits of Dairy Fat…
The following studies may shock you. Once again, what we have been told about eating low-fat has been based on flawed recommendations.
In a 2017 study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found a link between the consumption of at least three servings of low-fat dairy products per day and an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. (2)
This is one of the largest studies on dairy to date, with over 25 years of data on more than 80,000 women and almost 50,000 men. Participants completed health questionnaires every two years and diet questionnaires every four years.
There was no association between those who ate full-fat dairy or whole milk and Parkinson’s disease.
The volunteers who consumed at least three servings of low-fat dairy per day had a 34% greater chance of developing Parkinson’s than people who consumed less than one serving per day.
There was also a 39% greater chance of developing Parkinson’s for people who consumed more than one serving per day compared to those who consumed less than one serving of low-fat dairy per week. (2)
Full-Fat Dairy for Weight Loss
In a 2016 study published in the journal Circulation, researchers evaluated the dairy consumption of more than 18,000 women for 11 years. They found that the women who ate the most full-fat (whole milk) dairy products and had no intake of low-fat dairy products experienced less weight gain.
They concluded that the lowest risk of becoming overweight or obese was observed in those that had the highest consumption of full-fat dairy products. (3)
Full-Fat Dairy Lowers the Risk of Blood Sugar Health Concerns
In another 2016 study, more than 3000 healthy volunteers were evaluated for the development of diabetes over 11 years. After adjusting for risk factors, lifestyle and diet, those with the highest concentrations of dairy fat in their blood had roughly a 44% lower risk for diabetes. (4)
One reason for this is that low-fat dairy leaves the product with protein and milk sugar, and no fat to slow the delivery of the sugar. Fats tend to burn slow and can stall or slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
For example, in one study, researchers measured the effects of a potato and lentil meal along with a large dose of fat. They found that the release of glucose or sugar into the bloodstream was significantly delayed. The effect was more pronounced with the high-carb (starchy) potato.
So, next time, think of adding some olive oil to your starch-heavy meals! (5)
Organic Dairy vs. Conventional Dairy
There has much debate over the value of organic dairy. Is it worth paying the extra money for organic dairy products?
In one study, the amount of not-so-healthy omega-6 fatty acids was compared to the healthier omega-3 fatty acids in both organic and conventional milk.
Today, highly processed omega-6 fatty acids are used in most packaged foods and are linked to a host of health concerns including heart, mood, blood sugar and weight-related issues. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 consumption has sky-rocketed in the past decades. Efforts are now being made to bring this balance back with the increased consumption of fish oils, chia and flaxseeds as well as other sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Let’s look at the stats from the study. Compared to conventional milk: (6)
- Organic milk has 25% less omega-6 fatty acids than conventional milk.
- Organic milk has 60% more alpha-linolenic acid
- Organic milk has 32% more eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Organic milk has 19% more docosapentaenoic acid (DHA)
- Organic milk has 18% more conjugated linoleic acid (all omega-3 fatty acids)
In another study, grass-fed dairy had 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed dairy.
Remember, CLA is found in the fat of dairy products, so ALWAYS choose grass-fed dairy, ghee, yogurt and cheese whenever possible. (7)