Courtney Smith
October 11, 2015 7:13 am

You know how we’ve been told that whole milk isn’t good for us? And how if we do drink milk, we’re encouraged to drink skim milk because it’s basically water? Welllllllll guess what? Scientists are finding that your health might be worse because you haven’t been drinking whole milk. And bad advice from the U.S. government may be to blame.

The Washington Post reports that scientists have taken a look at ten years worth of diet and health records, tallied up the results and found that “contrary to the government advice, people who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease.”

What the what?!? How can that be, especially when the government has been encouraging people for years to shift away from consuming whole milk?

“What we have learned over the last decade is that certain foods that are high in fat seem to be beneficial,” said Marcia Otto, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas and the lead author of large studies published in 2012 and 2013 funded by government and academic institutions, not the dairy industry.

Beneficial in disease prevention, that is. The question at hand, as the government revises the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is if they’re going to continue toeing the line that saturated fats, like those found in whole dairy and meat, contribute to heart disease. Science isn’t so sure that connection is as strong as was previously thought.

The problem with this advice in the Dietary Guidelines was that they seemed to say replacing those saturated fats with carbohydrates was a healthy choice. When, in fact, replacing them with unsaturated fats is the best way to go.

The Post cites advice from Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist, epidemiologist, and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, who suggests the government should stop judging singular foods on how much fat they contain, with whole milk serving as a primary example, at the risk of “blinding” people to its benefits.

In short, what makes a healthy diet is a lot more complicated and nuanced than one government chart. The idea that skim milk is, as a rule, healthier to consume than whole milk, is simply not accurate for everyone.

(Image via iStock)

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