We've heard that we should stay away from lowfat and nonfat products. But we've also heard that dairy products was an exception to that rule.
Turns out that eating full-fat dairy products can help you, based on recent scientific studies.
In a paper, Swedish researchers determined that middle-aged men who consumed high-fat dairy products were significantly less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared with men who hardly or never ate high-fat dairy products.
A study in the European Journal of Nutrition, a meta-analysis of 16 observational studies, found that in most of the studies, high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity.
This sounds good. But this also sounds against what we've been drilled into our heads.
The attack on fat starts out with actual science: 1 gram of fat = 9 calories. A gram of carbohydrates and protein = 4 calories each. So the easiest way to cut calories is to cut fat.
We do need fat, especially good fat. But we now have a generation that is afraid of fat.
Consuming high-fat dairy products allows for better taste and feeling satiated faster. This may be the key, since French people eat high-fat dairy products and have lower obesity levels.
The European angle can't be ignored. European standards are so much higher than U.S. dairy standards, so the source of your full-fat dairy products matters. Dairy from grass-fed cows has more Omega 3s, similar to grass-fed cows with organic beef.
You can duplicate that in the States with organic/organic standards dairy or dairy from grass-fed cows.
Full-fat dairy products are higher in saturated fat, and lots of saturated fat isn't good for us. But full-fat dairy in moderation could be okay.
When we said dairy products were the exception, we should note that this applies to a pure dairy product. Lowfat yogurt with added sugars falls into the lowfat foods to avoid since sugar substitutes for the fat.
This isn't an invitation to gorge on full-fat ice cream, butter, milk, cheese, and yogurt to your heart's content. Like most good-quality foods, a little bit goes a long way.
You have to decide in how you consume dairy products as to how to take this news. If you consume a lot of dairy products, you should weigh the benefits of adding back that saturated fat for increased omega 3s. And if you hardly consume any dairy products, you might as well go for the full-fat version.
If your intake is somewhere in the middle, cost, access, flavor, and desire will play in your decision making process.
Embrace fat, good fat, beneficial fat. Food is meant to taste good, and fat tastes good. Just watch how much "good" you are consuming.