Sunday, June 21, 2020

Drinking real milk benefits your health

Most people know drinking milk is important for healthy bones.  But how about your overall health?  And for years the American Heart Association and other organizations have recommended low-fat or fat-free milk for heart health. But a new study sheds a different light on real milk and whether or not whole milk may be a healthy choice.  In fact, the latest research is showing that drinking real whole milk may actually lower your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. 

What do the studies find?

1.      An international study found a link between consumption of real dairy foods, especially whole fat diary, and lowering one’s risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.  The study looked at nearly 150,000 people from 21 countries across the globe whose ages ranged from 35-70 years old.  They asked these individuals how often they ate certain foods.  Dairy foods included real milk, yogurt and cheese.  Researchers also looked at consumption of whole fat dairy, whole fat real milk, whole fat yogurt, and whole fat cheese as well as lower fat options including 1-2% milk, skim milk, low-fat cheese, and low-fat yogurt.  They did not include butter and cream as these are high fat foods.  The people in the study were followed over a period of 9.1 years.

2.    Weight – one would think that you would weigh less if you ate low-fat dairy products.  Surprisingly, the study found that people who consumed at least 2 servings of whole fat dairy foods a day had a lower waist circumference (think belly fat), lower Body Mass Index (BMI), and lower blood glucose levels.  Those who had at least 2 servings of dairy a day, also had a lower incidence of hypertension and a lower incidence of diabetes. 

3.     Not just real, whole milk, but other studies have found that the higher fat versions of cheese and yogurt also reduce one’s risk of Type 2 diabetes.  But, if you enjoy low-fat cheese or low-fat yogurt, these are associated with reducing one’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  However, the higher fat cheese and yogurt are particularly beneficial in reducing risk of Type 2 diabetes. In a 2017 study, the researchers looked at diabetes and prediabetes.  They found for those with pre-diabetes:

a.       “High-fat dairy was associated with a 70% reduced risk of developing diabetes.

b.       Cheese was associated with a 63% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes”.

Why would high-fat dairy lower risk of hypertension, and diabetes more than low-fat dairy?

For years, we have been told to cut back on the saturated fat in our diets.  The fat in milk, the fat in cheese, the fat in yogurt.  What is it about whole-fat dairy that may be better for our health?  And, note, these studies are talking about REAL MILK, REAL YOGURT, REAL CHEESE and not fake milk like Almond Milk, Rice Milk and other non-dairy milks. 

  1. Glucose – how do dairy foods help blood glucose levels?  It seems dairy helps insulin so blood glucose levels are more normal.
  2. Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D – real milk and real yogurt provide calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.  These minerals and vitamin help insulin do its job of getting glucose into our cells and reducing inflammation. 
  3. Milk proteins – Unlike fake milks, real milk provides high quality proteins like whey protein.  Many “protein powders” muscle builders buy contain whey protein as it is such a high-quality protein.  Whey protein has been found to improve glucose levels, help insulin, and help control blood pressure.
  4. Cheese contains vitamin K-2 which has been found to reduce one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So, what does all this research mean for you?  Some take -a -ways:

  1. Add some REAL Dairy - be sure the dairy in your diet is REAL and not fake.  Drink real milk, buy real yogurt and enjoy some cheese.
  2. Aim for at least 2 servings of dairy a day.  Enjoy some real milk on your cereal or in a smoothie.  Have a yogurt at lunch.  Enjoy some cheese and crackers as a snack.  Buy some easy to grab and eat cheese sticks.
  3. Maybe add some regular fat dairy back to your diet.  For years, we only bought fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, and 2% milk cheese.  But now we are thinking about adding some full-fat cheese back to our diet.  I love cheese -all cheese, and full-fat cheese tastes so much better. 

What are some ways you can add real dairy to your day?

Sources:  international , studies , 2017 , dairy  Image sources:  Real   , yogurt , platter  

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