Have you heard that high-fat dairy foods are healthier than low-fat?

“The case against low-fat milk is stronger than ever,” announced Time magazine this spring.

“Some research suggests people who consume full-fat dairy weigh less and are less likely to develop diabetes, too,” the magazine-website declared.

Really? Based on what?

Time’s evidence: a new study reported that people who had higher blood levels of fats found in dairy foods had a lower risk of diabetes.

But the question Time didn’t ask:Whole Milk

Did these people get their higher levels from eating full-fat dairy products? Is that what they were eating?

Guess what?  The researchers couldn’t tell because they didn’t ask.  For all they knew, the study participants could have been eating low-fat, not high-fat, dairy.

After all, “a large amount of dairy fat comes from lower-fat dairy products like 1 or 2 percent-fat milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese,” says Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Whoops.

So maybe the study actually suggested the benefits, not the harm, of lower-fat dairy.

“You can’t simply generalize the results on the blood levels of those fats to the benefits of eating full-fat dairy,” Hu explains. You need to look at what people eat—not what’s in their blood—and when you do that you get a much different story than the one Time spread. Continue reading “Have you heard that high-fat dairy foods are healthier than low-fat?” »