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Whole Fat Dairy: It Does a Body Good*

Consuming whole fat dairy foods lowers mortality and cardiovascular risks, according to a new Lancet study.

Sergey Zavalnyuk/DreamstimeSergey Zavalnyuk/DreamstimeIn its latest healthy intake dietary guidelines, the U.S. government recommends that Americans avoid whole fat dairy products and instead consume fat-free and low-fat (1 percent) dairy, including milk, yogurt, and cheese. A new prospective cohort study published in The Lancet suggests that the government's recommendation is bunk.

The study followed the eating habits of more than 130,000 people for more than 9 years. It found that folks who consume higher levels of whole fat dairy products actually lowered their overall mortality and cardiovascular disease risks compared to those who consumed lower amounts or none.

As the study notes, nutritionists have long recommended that people minimize their consumption of whole-fat dairy products on the ground that they are a source of saturated fats and are presumed to adversely affect blood lipids and increase cardiovascular disease and mortality. On the basis of this study, that recommendation is exactly backward: Consuming less whole fat dairy is associated with higher cardiovascular and mortality risk.

How much lower? Eurekalert reports that "among those who consumed only whole-fat dairy, higher intake (mean intake of 2.9 servings of whole fat dairy per day) was associated with lower rates of total mortality (3.3% vs 4.4%) and major cardiovascular disease (3.7% vs 5.0%), compared to those who consumed less than 0.5 servings whole-fat dairy per day."

While the results of all nutrition research should be taken with a grain of salt**, The Lancet's new study reinforces recent arguments that what passes for nutrition "science" is in desperate need of radical reform.

(* Apologies to the American Dairy Association's 1980s advertising compaign.)

(** Though the government's salt consumption recommendations are most likely bunk too.)

Photo Credit: Sergey Zavalnyuk/Dreamstime

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh, come on!

  • Aloysious||

    Don't worry. There is still a ton of food thingies we can demonize.

    Brussels sprouts, for instance. And boiled spinach.

    Blech.

  • ||

    Don't worry. There is still a ton of food thingies we can demonize.

    Brussels sprouts, for instance. And boiled spinach.

    What is chopped liver, some reprehensible option that nobody thinks to consider?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Yeah man!!!

    What ***IS*** chopped liver anyway, to ya... CHOPPED LIVER, fer Chrissakes!??!?

  • Don't look at me.||

    Liver is so terrible it really isn't food.

  • Tony||

    Liver might be my favorite food. I'll eat the chicken kind any day, but the kind that comes from force-fed geese, yummm.

  • Fats of Fury||

    Not with dairy.

  • lafe.long||

    I wasn't planning on giving up half and half in my coffee anyway.

  • Paloma||

    You need fat to absorb calcium and Vitamin D. Good thing nobody cares about federal nutritional guidelines anyway, except Michelle Obama.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Do you figure the average Trump supporter is as obese as Trump, less obese than Trump, or more obese than Trump?

    How, in your judgment, do education and information influence the result?

    Thank you.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Anyone who follows the government's food pyramid is obese.

  • NoVaNick||

    Not sure about the obesity of Trump supporters, but one thing I do know for a fact is that you are full of shit, Artie.

  • rxc||

    Are you denying the science of this report?

  • Teddy Pump||

    Is anyone as obese as porky Prog Jerrold Nadler?

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Michael Moore?

  • Teddy Pump||

    LOL!!!....I still think Nadler's got him by a few pounds!

  • Paloma||

    I'd say Obama supporters and Trump supporters are equally obese.

  • Juice||

    You also need vitamin K, so eat the shit out of kale cooked with butter.

  • Tony||

    Kale is a marketing product, not a food.

  • DamnDirtyApe||

    Kale is a product of Satan's bunghole.

  • Zeb||

    Kale is great if you use it appropriately. It is not a salad green and don't even get me started about kale chips.

  • Tony||

    Holiday decoration? Mildew removal?

  • Paloma||

    Sauteing kale in coconut oil makes it a lot easier to scrape off the plate.

  • Teddy Pump||

    Healthy Fats are also better to fuel the body than carbs!....That is why Coconut Oil & Avocados & Nuts are so good for you!...Look up Ketosis!

  • Fats of Fury||

    The second time in her life when she was proud to be American is when they let her starve schoolkids. The third time is when she had those kids working her White House vegetable plantation.

  • ||

    But I like the raspberry flavor! Also, rehydrate/refuel with a nice big glass of whole milk between 2-a-days and let me know how it goes.

    You were probably scared by pink slime too, weren't you?

  • Rich||

    The Lancet's new study reinforces recent arguments that what passes for nutrition "science" is in desperate need of radical reform.

    One might think that of almost any "science", nutrition would be the most well-established. I mean, how long have people been eating food?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Special interests are more wealthy recently.

  • Tony||

    And nutrition science and epidemiology in general are notoriously difficult.

  • rxc||

    They don't seem to be so difficult when they support your preconceived notions about how the public *should* eat. It is only the ones that disagree with your (tony's) ideas which are "difficult". Maybe we just have to make these troublesome reports disappear. They do not support the proper narrative.

  • Tony||

    My idea is eat what you want because life is short, and fucking kale isn't going to make it any longer.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Tony, we don't agree on much but your comments regarding kale are correct in every regard.

    Kale is a noxious weed unfit for human consumption.

  • Zeb||

    But it's impossible to study properly because everyone lies.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Is this another study that ignores other dietary behavior that is harmful because they drink less milk fat?

    For example, people who eat more carbs because meat is fatty. Turns out eating too many carbs is bad for you too. They get turned in triglycerides which can cause strokes and other cardiovascular problems.

  • Ecoli||

    Not to mention diabetes, and obesity. Other than those minor issues, carbs are wonderful.

  • Mr. Dyslexic||

    Eat more cheese! As long as it's not fromunda cheese.

  • DaveSs||

    avoid whole fat dairy products and instead consume fat-free and low-fat (1 percent) dairy, including milk, yogurt, and cheese

    What the hell is point of eating this stuff after you've removed all/most of the fats that carry flavor, give texture, and fat soluble vitamins. Yes they add some of the vitamins back in, but you can't fix the texture or flavor...its gone forever.

  • Teddy Pump||

    Take it one crucial step further: What is the point of consuming Pasteurized milk at all?...Even if milk is organic, if it is pasteurized it is DEAD FOOD!...All the enzymes & many other nutrients are boiled out. Raw Milk from grass fed cows is what mankind is supposed to consume. If one does, lactose intolerance goes away & so does heavy formation of mucus & clogged sinuses!

    Pasteurization is one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated upon mankind!

  • Headache||

    Not only that, pasteurization turns the polyunsaturated fat to trans fats.

  • Teddy Pump||

    THX....I did not know that!

  • CatoTheChipper||

    I'm old enough to remember when the feds promoted margarine as the healthy alternative to butter. Big government has been wrong about everything. With the exception of refined sugar, its recommendations have not just been wrong, but the exact opposite of right.

    Woody Allen's film titled Sleeper portrayed this absurdity, predicting that in 200 years the current dietary guidelines would be found to be precisely opposite of what they should be. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2fYguIX17Q

    Like Idiocracy, Sleeper's absurd predictions were realized way ahead of schedule.

  • Teddy Pump||

    GREAT VIDEO!!!...THX!

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Seems like the evolution that disfavored lactose-intolerant genes would have done so for a reason, and to consume adulterated versions is just begging for trouble. Maybe in 10,000 years evolution would adjust to 1% milk, but why wait 10,000 years?

  • ||

    Seems like the evolution that disfavored lactose-intolerant genes would have done so for a reason

    Congenital lactose intolerance is rather rare and estimates among the Asian population puts intolerance as a phenotype well into the majority.

    There's a sort of evolutionary biology dogma that older animal's diets are dictated by avoiding conflict with their progeny.
    It's not always clear if which way cause and effect goes or whether it's completely coincidental but, basically, everybody loses the ability to digest dairy as they age unless they make a concerted effort not to (or to die first).

  • lap83||

    I buy whole-fat dairy, mainly because I have an almost-2 year old, and I've noticed that whole fat yogurt often has less sugar than the lower fat versions. It's ridiculous. Who doesn't realize that sugar is much worse for you than fat?

  • Jerryskids||

    The study followed the eating habits of more than 130,000 people for more than 9 years. It found that folks who consume higher levels of whole fat dairy products actually lowered their overall mortality and cardiovascular disease risks compared to those who consumed lower amounts or none.

    Lowered their overall mortality and cardiovascular disease risks? From what? Or do you mean to say they had lower overall mortality and cardiovascular disease risks? Because some of that might be that people who are carefully cutting down on fat are fat and lazy people who don't otherwise have a healthy diet and don't exercise - the people who eat whole fat dairy may be the ones who get otherwise healthy diets and plenty of exercise and know they can "afford" to eat high calorie foods. Unless you're keeping people like rats in a cage and carefully controlling everything they do, it's always hard to say that this one single thing is what distinguishes one group from another. I'd like to see a study showing that people who spend a lot of money at Cabela's tend to be healthier than people who spend a lot of money at McDonald's, because I'd bet that's true, too.

  • ||

    Lowered their overall mortality and cardiovascular disease risks? From what? Or do you mean to say they had lower overall mortality and cardiovascular disease risks?

    He's misrepresenting the study a bit (he does say 'suggests'). The study mainly looks at gross dairy consumption and states that the majority of consumption comes from milk and yogurt. Cheese and butter are virtually absent.

    There is, obviously, a point at which someone is consuming so little dairy that the makeup is irrelevant. As someone who drinks 0.75-1 gal. daily, I can't fathom where that point is but I can assume the opposite applies as well.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    That experiment has been performed. Dr. Ivan Frantz of the University of Minnesota conducted a rigorous study with a stable population in a mental hospital. The only difference in diet was that one group had their food prepared with saturated fats and the other with vegetable fats.

    Scientific American article on the study

    Dr. Franz was a one of the anti-saturated fat fanatics. He did not publish the study results, which were unfavorable to the Ancel Keys doctrine. Fortunately, he kept his inconvenient data intact rather than destroying it.

    Malcolm Gladwell made a great podcast about the story of how the data were originally obtained, left unreported, later discovered and properly analyzed. S2E11.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    A new prospective cohort study published in The Lancet suggests that the government's recommendation is bunk.

    Shocker.

  • Dillinger||

    As truth is gathered, I rearrange,
    Inside out, outside in, inside out, outside in,
    Perpetual change

    ~anderson/squire

  • Tony||

    There aren't many things I resent more than growing up on skim milk, margarine, and not putting fucking salt on anything.

    Trying to pinpoint specific foods as the culprit in your disgusting body is obviously a fool's errand. Your body even has tricks up its sleeves if you dare deprive it of calories, which, having evolved more in starvation than plenty, will just make you fatter in the long run.

    Even more annoying than an entire childhood eating crap based on voodoo nutrition science are people spending half their lives obsessing over food. It's vulgar. I don't want to hear about your allergy and I don't want to hear about your unique personal insight into how to be "healthy," a word that means next to nothing all by itself.

  • Libertymike||

    Funny, I don't recall you admonishing Michelle Obama to keep her "unique personal insight into how to be 'healthy'"
    to herself.

  • Tony||

    You must not have been in the room when I was doing it, then.

    I don't believe that attempts at persuasion by public figures moves any needles on large-scale social problems. We're not any less disgusting, are we? And she had 8 whole years.

    And I suspect Trump's nightly bucket of chicken won't bend the curve either.

  • Ron||

    Whole fat milk also helps reduce uric acid which causes gout, unfortunately for my lactose intolerance, I can't have milk.

    drink up america real food is always best food low fat and 2% are nothing but water down milk would a person eat watered down beef

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    If it was cooked low and slow with vegetables and called stew, yes, I would eat watered down beef.

    Pressure cooked stew good too.

  • Ron||

    in that case the beef is not watered down, it is tenderized in a gravy of great flavors

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    All this goes to prove is that if you live long enough whatever you like to eat will be found to be good for you sooner or later. So enjoy yourself

  • PG23COLO||

    What passes for "nutrition science" has always been a sham.

  • THCorCBDthatistheQuestion||

    Always challenging to draw conclusions when you don't know what was substituted for the milk fat, and since I dont have a lancet subscription I have no way of knowing and drawing conclusions from an abstract is a terrible way to go through life.

    I hope they controlled for income and starting health. You'd imagine these types of cohorts would have been made in the data, but some of this nutrition science (look at those egg studies the egg industry pays for) are designed to get a specific outcome without regards to answering the question for if a food is healthy.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Eat food and drink drinks on a daily basis.

  • Seamus||

    "This morning for breakfast he requested something called "wheat germ, organic honey and tiger's milk."

    "Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties."

    "You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?"

    "Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true."

    "Incredible."

  • swampwiz||

    I have noticed that the combination of continuing to eat foods high in saturated fat and the regimen of statins has increased the high-density lipoprotein (i.e., HDL) such that the ratio of low-density lipoprotein (i.e., LDL) to HDL is lower. It's like the statins knock down the LDL more effectively than the HDL, so to take advantage of this, one much continue to eat a high-fat diet.

    On a recent cardiac perfusion test, as a 50 year-old, I had the cardiac function of a 30 year-old, so I must be doing something right.

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