Whole milk makes a comeback

I don’t drink milk very often. I don’t eat cereal. Occasionally I’ll have a glass with a warm cookie fresh out of the oven–a nostalgic pleasure from childhood.

But my daughters drink milk, and we’ve always given them whole milk. It just seems right. The less processed, the better, right? And we spring not just for organic milk, we buy a brand produced by pastured cows, cows that eat grass, not grains.

I don’t recall seeing whole milk in other people’s refrigerators when we visit family or friends. It’s almost as if whole milk is considered dangerous.

So, I was heartened recently to see this article: The case for drinking whole milk.

From the article:

In 2013, the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care published findings from a study that tracked the impact of dairy fat intake on 1,782 men. Twelve years after researchers took the initial measurements, they found that consumption of butter, high-fat milk, and cream several times a week were related to lower levels of central obesity, while “a low intake of dairy fat… was associated with a higher risk of developing central obesity.” (Central obesity means a waist-to-hip ratio equal to or greater than one—i.e. big in the middle.)

Still skeptical? Shortly after that study came out, the European Journal of Nutrition published a meta-analysis of 16 studies on the relationship between dairy fat, obesity, and cardiometabolic disease. (A meta-analysis combines findings from multiple, independent studies, and when done correctly, provides better coverage of a question than any single study usually can.) Its findings will be revelatory for anyone who drinks skim for weight control:

The observational evidence does not support the hypothesis that dairy fat or high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity or cardiometabolic risk, and suggests that high-fat dairy consumption within typical dietary patterns is inversely associated with obesity risk.

This continues the recent surge of research showing that we’ve been wrong all along about fat, especially saturated fat. Our culture saw a sharp rise in obesity rates after fat was demonized and after we were told to fill the base of our food pyramid with grains.

The low fat push ended up making us fat.

I’m not saying “milk does a body good”. (Humans consuming the milk of cows sparks a whole other set of questions.) But fat, even saturated fat, may not be the culprit we’ve been led to believe.

Sugar, however, is poison. Tasty, tasty poison…