Full-fat or skim dairy; which one to choose?
Mon 17 02 2020

Sometimes we make choices related to our diet without understanding why. We might start consuming kale, drinking green smoothies or even changing our diets to vegan just because it is the trend. But what is actually the best for us? One of the food choices that are becoming more popular is fat-free dairy. While this is not a trend but a healthy option, one should know when to substitute the full-fat dairy with it and when not to. This article gives you the needed answer.

First, let’s start by exploring the benefits of dairy. Dairy products are rich in Vitamins A, B6, B12, D and K and in magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iodine, and zinc. These nutrients have the ability to lower your blood pressure boosting the health of your heart.

Some recent studies have demonstrated that saturated fat found in foods such as coconut oil, beef, and whole milk is harmful, while other studies showed that dairy has many benefits to the health especially to the heart. This has been further proved by a study on more than 130 000 persons for 9 years; the study showed that people who consumed dairy one to two times per day showed a 22% reduction of heart disease, 34% of strokes and 23% of death due to heart diseases.

Is low-fat better?

One of the disadvantages of dairy products is the saturated fat that they contain which contributes to boosting the LDL cholesterol leading to poorer heart health. Low-fat and skimmed dairy contain less saturated fats, which have less negative consequences on the heart.

Are full-fat products unhealthy?

Full-fat products have been recommended to be avoided for years, due to their richness in saturated fat, which, as we mentioned above is unhealthy for the heart.  In fact, one cup of around 235 ml of whole milk has up to 4.5 grams of saturated fat making up less than the quarter of the daily recommended amount to be consumed. Due to this reason, the guidelines endorse consuming only skim or low-fat milk and other dairy products. While nowadays many experiments are being done to prove one more time the validity of these results, they are still into question. Therefore, after the first results, there is no clear evidence of whether full-fat products affect the heart or not.

The bottom line

While studies have not always been right about saturated fat in many other products, we cannot rely on the fact that if a product is high in saturated fat then it definitely is harmful to the heart. To know the harm of saturated fat, one must question the source or the product where this component is abundant. Also, before taking a general decision regarding a certain product, one should look at their body’s health and think of its needs and condition and find what is appropriate and healthy for it. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or if you are at risk for it, then it would be better to adopt skim and low-fat dairy. If not, you can, as a healthy adult, continue to consume full-fat dairy as part of a well-balanced diet.