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Even though Canada’s Food Guide advises us to “drink skim 1% or 2% milk each day,” and opt for “lower fat” milk alternatives, new research suggests high-fat dairy might be the more wholesome option — even though a glass of fat-free skim milk has 91 calories and a glass of full fat milk has 157 calories and 8.6 grams of fat.
A 15-year study involving more than 3,000 adults found full-fat dairy can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 46 per cent on average. The findings were published in the medical journal Circulation this week.
Full-fat dairy products have also been found to lower women’s risk of being overweight or obese by eight per cent, while low-fat dairy wasn’t associated with less weight gain. That’s according to another study, released in February in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“This is just one more piece of evidence showing that we really need to stop making recommendations about food based on theories about one nutrient in food,” Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, author of the former study, told Time.
“It’s crucial at this time to understand that it’s about food as a whole, and not about single nutrients.”
Researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly why whole-fat dairy seems to be able to help keep diabetes and obesity in check.
One theory is that zero, one and two per cent fat milk options don’t offer satiety the same way full-fat milk does, so people who consume those may be more tempted to snack on sugary foods.
Low-fat milk is also high in sugar. One cup of two per cent milk contains 12.3 grams of sugar, which is more than what’s in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
READ MORE: Do you know how much sugar you’re eating?
Don’t take this as a free pass to binge on creamy cheeses, though. Researchers admit they still need to do more research in the area.
You can, however, feel less guilty ordering that normal latte.
WATCH: Global News takes a look at milk’s history as a diet staple
With files from Carmen Chai, Global News
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