Full-fat or low-fat dairy items: Which one is healthier?

While low-fat dairy is often perceived as a healthier alternative, recent research challenges this notion

Full fat or low-fat dairy items: Experts weigh in on which one is healthier?—Reuters

In the realm of dairy choices, the debate between full-fat and low-fat options persists, with dietitians offering insights into the health implications. reported that while low-fat dairy is often perceived as a healthier alternative, recent research challenges this notion, indicating potential benefits associated with full-fat dairy consumption.

Governments and health bodies advocate for dairy as a vital component of a balanced diet, yet the preference for low-fat options remains prevalent. 

The process of making low-fat dairy involves removing or skimming the cream, resulting in variations like whole milk (3.5% fat), semi-skimmed (1.8% fat), and fully skimmed milk (0.1%-0.3% fat). 

However, a recent study suggests that children consuming full-fat dairy exhibit better health outcomes than those opting for reduced-fat versions.

The debate extends beyond calories, delving into the fatty acids present in dairy fats. Emerging evidence suggests that certain fatty acids in dairy fats might reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Fermented dairy products, such as unsweetened full-fat yoghurt and specific cheeses, are linked to potential health benefits.

Contrary to popular belief, the myth associating low-fat milk and cheese with weight gain is debunked, tracing its origin to historical farming practices. 

The recommendations for low-fat or reduced-fat dairy choices in healthy eating guidelines may be rooted in broader efforts to limit overall saturated fatty acid intake. 

However, the dietitian emphasises that the fat content in dairy, especially unsweetened yoghurt, and cheese, may not be a significant concern for those incorporating these products into their diet.

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