Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Whole milk sales up, fat-free milk sales down; studies link whole milk to healthier diets

Whole milk is making a comeback. Sales rose 4.5 percent in 2015, while sales of fat-free milk dropped 12.3 percent, says Dairy Management, a marketing group for the industry's 45,000 U.S. dairy farmers. "Once snubbed, whole-fat milk, yogurt and other dairy products are finding their way back into our refrigerators, thanks to a growing interest in 'whole foods' diets and new evidence that full-fat dairy products can be good for us, experts say," Donnelle Eller reports for The Des Moines Register.

Ruth Litchfield, associate professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, told Eller, "Full-fat dairy products used to be seen as taboo. We were told we should cut them out of our diet, We're realizing that fat can be good." Litchfield said the federal dietary guidelines still recommend that Americans consume low- or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese, saying they contain saturated fat linked to increased cholesterol levels that contribute to heart disease.

Litchfield said new studies are challenging that perspective, Eller writes. Litchefield told her."There is some research that's coming out that shows consumption of whole-fat dairy is decreasing risk of Type 2 diabetes, decreasing risk of cardiovascular disease, decreasing risk of certain kinds of cancer, and people who consume whole-fat dairy products are less obese." (Progressive Dairyman graphic)
A study at the Harvard School of Public Healthreported in the journal Circulation, found that "children who habitually drink low-fat milk gain more weight, and those who drink whole-fat milk gain less weight, over time." Robert Pemberton, president of the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association, found the results unsurprising, reports the Augusta Free Press in Waynesboro, Va. He told the Press, “Milk’s easily digested fat is not only good for you but also helps you feel full so you don’t eat extra calories. Our mothers were right; a balanced diet and moderation are the way to go.”

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