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The Dairy Paradox - Is Full-Fat Milk Better for Weight Loss After All?

Updated on November 15, 2016
janderson99 profile image

Dr John uses his Biochemistry & Physiology research background (PhD) to develop authoritative reviews of dieting, weight loss, obesity, food

There are many examples that highlight the imperfection and inconsistency of advice on healthy foods and dieting. What tends to happen is that one or two studies make what appears to be a research break-through. Researchers clamor to get funding for research to confirm the current trend. This introduces unconscious biases towards a certain outcome.

Meanwhile, the findings are published in newspapers and websites that are read by the general public. Health authorities pick up on the announcements and reports and offer advice to the public. Then, later research shows that the initial findings were not true or unreliable. But it is very hard to reverse the dogmas and shift to new positions. This leaves the public in the dark without answers.

The latest 'accepted truth' to be questioned is that Full Cream Milk is a poor option for weight loss programs.

The great dairy paradox is that, despite years of research, and multiple studies, the weight of evidence is in the other direction - "a high-fat dairy consumption within a typical diet and eating pattern is correlated with lower risks of obesity".

Of course, correlation does not prove causation, but the findings of recent reviews are startling and contrary to current advice and thinking.

This article discussed the latest findings dietary patterns is inversely associated with obesity risk.

Full  cream milk may not promote increase in body weight as had been claimed. Read why here
Full cream milk may not promote increase in body weight as had been claimed. Read why here | Source
Milk has been a traditional food for babies and infants. The shift away from natural milk to low-fat varieties may not be justified by research
Milk has been a traditional food for babies and infants. The shift away from natural milk to low-fat varieties may not be justified by research | Source
Milk - Glorious Milk!
Milk - Glorious Milk! | Source
The mediterranean Diet is a full complete and balanced diet rather than diets that are focused on not eating one component such as fat of sugar
The mediterranean Diet is a full complete and balanced diet rather than diets that are focused on not eating one component such as fat of sugar | Source

Recent Research Findings - The Dairy Paradox

A major review study aimed to review previous research studies to examine the relationship between the consumption of dairy fat and high-fat dairy foods, obesity, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

This study found that 11 of 16 (70%) of selected properly controlled studies showed that high-fat dairy intake was:

► inversely correlated with excess weight (higher full milk consumption - lower body weight).

► not consistently correlated with the incidence of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

A separate Swedish study of 1800 men found a similar result - that eating full-fat dairy products was correlated with a lower risk of developing excessive weight gain around the abdomen (central obesity).

The conclusion from the study, apart from the usual 'need for further research', was that consuming full-fat milk products appears to lower your risk of becoming obese rather than increasing it.

Why Do Studies Fail to Show Excess Weight is Correlated with Whole Cream Milk Consumption?

There are many possible reasons for this.

Many questions remaining to be answered.

However, these results highlight a shift from dieting focused on what you don't eat, to what you do eat. It is the complete diet package in its entirety, which is important, not just the individual parts.

There is increasing evidence of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is based on an array of foods rather than emphasising one component such as low-carb, low-fat.

This diet emphasises whole foods with an array of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish and seafood, olive oil and reduced quantities of red meat.

The vital aspect is replacement - the diet replaces red meat with more vegetables and seafood, it replaces poor quality fats with olive oil, and it replaces processed grains with whole grains. The problem with low-carb, low-fat and high-protein diets and similar one component diets, is what replaces these items in the diet.

This research confirms a general trend that fat in the diet, per sec, is not specifically related to excess body fat. There is evidence that low fat and high carbohydrate diets seems to be correlated with long-term weight gain, rather than a high fat diet.

Another explanation is that full-fat milk provides a greater sense of fullness. Other studies have shown that many people who consume low fat dairy products have a high sugar diet.

A recent study provided evidence that a whole diet approach, with increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish was more effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease rather than reduced dietary fat diets.

© 2014 Dr. John Anderson

Comments

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  • tirelesstraveler profile image

    Judy Specht 

    4 years ago from California

    Whole milk , I heard recently, does not have the same component of lactose reduced milk has. Can't do dairy regardless, but am a huge fan of the Mediterranean diet. Liked how you pointed out bias in studies. My theory is wait 5 years and they will flipflop.

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 

    4 years ago from Wales

    Interesting reading which is also very useful. Voted up and shared.

    Eddy.

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