Bring Back the Fat in Dairy

Fashion trends from the 1990s may be making a comeback, but 1990’s dietary trends should definitely stay out of style. In that decade, fat was a four-letter word and non-fat and low-fat versions of foods were promoted over their full-fat counterparts, with the hope of improving heart health and reducing waist lines. We now know that trading fat for carbohydrates did not make Americans healthier (or thinner), but old habits die hard. Thirty years later, the influence of this fat-free mania on food choices and dietary recommendations is still evident. The most recent edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [1] recommends non-fat and low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese to limit saturated fat intake. But far from clogging arteries and increasing cholesterol, a growing body of scientific studies [27] suggests dairy-derived saturated fats could be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

The most recent vindication for dairy fats comes from data collected as part of the Women’s Health Initiative, one of the largest studies to address risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Detailed dietary data and blood samples were collected from over 35,000 post-menopausal women aged 50–79 from across the United States to test the hypothesis that dairy foods are associated with blood biomarkers commonly used to assess risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes [8]. These included markers for lipid metabolism (total triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, and total cholesterol), inflammation (C-reactive protein, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α), and glucose metabolism (glucose and insulin-related factors) [8].

To read the rest of the story, please go to: International Milk Genomics Consortium