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New Studies Reveal Milk and Saturated Fats Are Healthier than Once Believed

November 6, 2015

Milkfat made a splash last month, when several new studies revealed that saturated fats are healthier than previously thought.

In the last year, the reputation of full-fat foods has gotten a facelift, with Americans increasingly consuming more of them, according to a study by the Credit Suisse Research Institute. Butter sales, for example, climbed 6 percent in the first three months of 2015, according to the study.

“Saturated fat has not been a driver of obesity: fat does not make you fat,” said researchers.

At the beginning of the month, dairy made the front page of The Washington Post when scientists said whole milk is not a strong contributing factor to heart disease – a notion championed by the federal government through its dietary guidelines for years. In fact, the article stated, “people who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease.”

At the end of October, another study published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed yet more exciting news for milk drinkers: “Total and especially full-fat dairy food intakes are inversely and independently associated with metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and older adults,” the report said. Simply put: Those who consume full-fat dairy products are less likely to be afflicted with the related risk factors that predict heart disease and diabetes.

Studies like these come at a crucial time for the dairy industry. This year, the federal dietary guidelines are due for their five-year update.

“We’re entering a new era of dairy consumption,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We’ve long believed in that milkfat need not be demonized by health researchers. I’m glad to see science – and hopefully the government – catching up with us.”

NMPF has advocated on several occasions for the increased consumption of milk, including bringing more of it to school cafeterias and touting its nutritional quality through the REAL® Seal.