I grow up loving milk, cottage cheese, CHEESE, and yogurt and I can't seem to give it up. I know many of you over there are just like me, as we Americans consume about 20 pounds of ice cream, 40 pounds of cheese and 150 pounds of milk per person per year. Sounds unbelievable, but this is real data from the Department of Agriculture.
But the debate on dairy products is so severe. Some people say eating full-fat dairy is ok, while others tell you to quit full-fat dairy and turn to low-fat dairy. Which side should you choose? Researchers from Harvard Health are now telling you, “not all dairy is created equal.”
Dairy fat and heart disease
Have you ever heard of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet? DASH diet includes two to three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy per day, which is believed to be able to protect your heart.
But new study has suggested that you can also consume full-fat dairy, as it may not lead to heart disease and may even be protective in some cases. Although recent data shows no link between dairy fat and heart disease, some types of dairy fat are associated with increased overall risk of death, like butter. So, you should consume no more than a tablespoon of butter a day.
Dairy fat and cancer
Some study results suggest that higher-fat dairy is associated with worse breast cancer survival rates. But the problem is that those studies treat different types of dairy products as equals.
Let’s put it this way, full-fat yogurt, cheese, cream, and ice cream should not be treated equally in the study. Full-fat yogurt is at least better than ice cream. In fact, some studies even suggest that yogurt may reduce cancer risk.
Dairy fat and body weight
In fact, full-fat dairy is associated with a decreased risk of obesity. Maybe this is because this kind of fat can make you feel full more quickly. The richer flavor of it also tends to make you eat less to feel satisfied.
On the other hand, if you totally avoid high-fat products, you may think dieting as an extremely painful thing, which may be bad for your mental health.
To conclude, you don’t need to quit full-fat dairy totally, but the type of full-fat dairy you choose is important. You can eat a little cheese and some whole-milk yogurt, while you should eat as little ice cream and butter as possible.