Some crazy science about milk is materializing now that everybody wants their say in how the government revises the so-called Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and here’s the gist of it: Embrace the fat.
“Replace whole milk and full-fat milk products with fat-free or low-fat choices” is what the Dietary Guidelines have urged for decades, but recent studies have not only failed to prove a link exists between low-fat milk and lower risk of heart disease (which is why the guidelines suggest it) — they’ve found the complete opposite could actually be true. In several studies looking at the diets of thousands of participants, researchers learned that people who drank full-fat milk were, strangely, the ones with better hearts. Others, like this 2013 study, couldn’t find any ties between dairy fat and high cholesterol. When added up, there’s seemingly enough evidence that these fats “are, for some reason, different.”
This research also apparently has a growing number of scientists pushing the government to revise the dietary advice it offers for milk. Marcia Otto, an epidemiology professor at the University of Texas, says the current warnings make it so that Americans lose “a huge opportunity for the prevention of disease.” She tells the Washington Post: “What we have learned over the last decade is that certain foods that are high in fat seem to be beneficial.”
There’s naturally a downside to fattier milk — more fat — and these scientists point out that people shouldn’t discount that when switching from skim to whole. But those days of sucking down cloudy milk water in the name of health could, if everyone’s lucky, finally be over.