An unexpected twist in the script: now the fat in whole milk is healthy

For many years dietary recommendations for the adult population urged us to replace whole milk with its skimmed or reduced-fat version, however, there has been an unexpected twist in the script and now the fat in whole milk is healthy.

Trans and saturated fats, responsible for the bad reputation of whole milk

As with other foods of animal origin, whole milk was discouraged for a long time due to the quality of its fats, which are mostly saturated fats that can raise blood cholesterol and therefore have been linked to a higher risk cardiovascular.

Likewise, the American Heart Association in 1993 linked a higher intake of saturated fat and cholesterol with a higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, however, it was also observed that the consumption of fruits and vegetables protects against the effect of this type of lipid .

On the other hand, scientific evidence has always linked trans fat intake with increased heart risk, even in recent studies like the one published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

However, all these studies have overlooked aspects that today question the indication of replacing whole milk with a skimmed alternative, because as well as for many years we believed that the saturated fat in milk and its minimal contribution in trans fats could be harmful to health, at present scientific evidence shows otherwise.

Nothing wrong with whole milk?

Milk, like other dairy or animal foods, is a source of mostly saturated fat, cholesterol, and also contains a minimum of naturally-occurring trans fat.

Of course, it is also a source of calcium, vitamin D and A, potassium and other micronutrients that we can find in skim milk, but the main difference and the reason why the intake of whole milk was discouraged were its fats.

Today, we not only know that the cholesterol we eat has little influence on our body, but also that saturated fats are increasingly decoupled from cardiac and metabolic risk.

Thus, an investigation published in the Annual Review of Nutrition this year once again removes saturated fats from cardiovascular risk and points out that although the replacement of this type of lipids with polyunsaturated fatty acids may be beneficial for health, it does not happen. The same if we replace saturated fats with carbohydrates, especially simple ones or sugars.

In addition, other factors can influence our body, such as the intake of fruits and vegetables or other lifestyle habits that accompany the intake of saturated fat.

As if that were not enough, a study in the European Heart Journal published a few days ago points out a difference between natural and industrial trans fats, making it clear that the former do not harm health or increase cardiovascular risk as oils do. hydrogenated or artificial trans fats found in most processed foods today.

So, all the reasons why up to now the intake of whole milk was discouraged and the choice, instead, of skimmed dairy products, nowadays seem not to exist or disappear in the light of new scientific evidence.

Therefore, at present there has been an unexpected twist in the script and now the fat in whole milk is healthy because apparently it does not harm the health of the body.

To consume whole milk or not?

After all that has been mentioned above and since it was already concluded in 2010 by a meta-analysis by the American Society for Nutrition that there is no significant evidence linking saturated fat to higher heart risk, today we can conclude that consuming whole milk is not there is nothing wrong or harmful to health.

In fact, the new consensus on fats for the Spanish population carried out by the FESNAD does not include the maximum recommended quota for saturated fats and indicates that a diet high in fat does not harm health.

Of course, as healthy and responsible consumers, it is always good to gather healthy eating habits and lead a balanced lifestyle in general, since the consumption of whole milk has nothing wrong, since its fats do not harm health and even less, if we associate them with a good intake of fruits and vegetables, regular physical activity and other healthy behaviors.

Consulted bibliography | Circulation, 1993; 88: 2771-2779; N Engl J Med 2006; 354: 1601-1613 April 13, 2006DOI: 10.1056 / NEJMra054035; Annual Review of Nutrition, Vol. 35: 517-543 (Volume publication date July 2015); European Heart Journal, DOI: ehv446 First published online: 22 September 2015; Am J Clin Nutr, ajcn.27725 and FESNAD
Directly to the Palate | Greases Reloaded II. The black legend of saturated fat
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