Since first introduced in the 1980s, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans (including the most recent edition for 2015–2020) have recommended low-fat or nonfat milk over whole milk, but new information has many dietary and nutrition experts questioning whether or not that advice is out of date.
In the past, whole milk has gotten a bad reputation because it has more calories and is slightly higher in saturated fat—which we have been told may contribute to heart disease, obesity, and related health problems. However, new research seems to tell us otherwise.
A recent analysis published in the European Journal of Nutrition points out that whole milk drinkers actually weigh less and are less likely to be obese than those who drink low-fat or skim milk. Further, researchers did not find a link between full-fat dairy consumption and an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.
Results of another study, published recently in the journal Circulation, revealed a link between consuming full-fat dairy products and a reduced risk of developing diabetes—up to 46% lower. Why? Possibly because dairy fats improve insulin sensitivity in the body, which in turn supports healthy blood sugar, say researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
In five years we will see another updated edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and it is the hope of many experts that the U.S. government will take into account the most current nutritional information and possibly even re-evaluate its current recommendations. In the meantime, whole milk drinkers can feel a little less guilty about what they put in their morning coffee.