You may want to sit down for this one, skim milk drinkers.
A new study suggests suggests people who consume full-fat dairy weigh less and are less likely to develop diabetes than those who eat low-fat dairy products.
In the study, published in the journal Circulation, researchers analyzed the blood of 3,333 adults for about 15 years. They found people with higher levels of three different byproducts of full-fat dairy had, on average, a 46% lower risk of getting diabetes than those with lower levels.
“I think these findings together with those from other studies do call for a change in the policy of recommending only low-fat dairy products,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, one of the researchers, said. “There is no prospective human evidence that people who eat low-fat dairy do better than people who eat whole-fat dairy.”
Previously, experts have advised avoiding full-fat dairy products because they contain more calories. Avoiding the higher caloric intake was believed to help avoid diabetes. But studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat they consume, they often replace those nutrients by consuming other foods and products that have higher doses of sugar and carbohydrates, both of which negatively effect insulin and thus, increase diabetes risk.
In fact, a full-fat dairy diet isn’t necessarily bad for you.
Whole fat may work to regulate insulin and glucose. The more fatty dairy products one consumes at once, the longer they’ll go without getting hungry enough to want more calories from sugary foods or foods with lots of carbohydrates, which the body converts into sugar then fat.
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It’s also possible that the fats in dairy may be working on the liver and muscle to improve their ability to break down sugar from food and that certain high fat dairy foods, like cheese, have microbes that may be working to improve insulin response and lower diabetes risk.
“This is just one more piece of evidence showing that we really need to stop making recommendations about food based on theories about one nutrient in food,” Mozaffarian said. “It’s crucial at this time to understand that it’s about food as a whole and not about single nutrients.”
Mozaffarian said more studies should be done, but current evidence is strong.
“In the absence of any evidence for the superior effects of low fat dairy and some evidence that there may be better benefits of whole fat dairy products for diabetes, why are we recommending only low fat diary? We should be telling people to eat a variety of dairy and remove the recommendation about fat content.”