Full Fat Dairy Products May Be A Healthy Choice
Since those with diabetes are at increased risk for heart disease, the recent conclusions of a Danish research team may be of interest those watching their blood sugar levels.
The researchers gathered 140 participants for a 12 week study to determine the effects of eating full-fat cheese on human health.
- A third of the participants ate 80 grams of high fat cheese every day.
- A third of the participants ate 80 grams of reduced fat cheese each day.
- A third of the participants ate 90 grams of bread and jam every day, and no cheese.
The investigators found no significant LDL cholesterol changes in any of the three groups; however, those eating the high-fat cheese increased their HDL levels. High HDL levels are believed to protect us not only from cardiovascular disease, but from metabolic conditions as well.
Other studies suggest that eating full-fat cheese enhances both triglyceride and cholesterol levels, wards off fatty liver disease, and is also helpful with weight management.
Full Fat Dairy and Diabetes
Full-fat cheese is not the only dairy item getting healthy marks from scientists.
A study published in the journal Circulation shows that full-fat yogurt and milk provide more health advantages, such as reduced risk for diabetes and obesity, than their low-fat counterparts.
This research took periodic blood samples from 3,333 adults, measured the dairy fat in their bloodstream, and over a 20 year span tracked the participants for type 2 diabetes onset.
“People who had the most dairy fat in their diet had about a 50 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with people who consumed the least dairy fat,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and an author of the study.
Though the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans continue to recommend skim milk and low-fat dairy items, not all scientists, or nutrition experts agree. “There is no prospective human evidence that people who eat low-fat dairy do better than people who eat whole-fat dairy,” notes Mozaffarian.
Considering Our Choices
With all this new dietary research evidence contradicting what we’ve been told for decades, it’s a confusing time for consumers. While sorting through the data, conferring with our doctors, and considering options, there are two important things we should do now:
- Limit our intake of sugar and refined grains which the new food guidelines indicate are primary instigators of obesity and heart disease.
- Make sure we choose healthy fats, and avoid all trans fats, and deep fried foods.
The healthiest fats include authentic olive oil (best for cold dishes), coconut oil for baking and cooking, butter, raw nuts, eggs (organic pastured are best), avocados, and grass-fed meats.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans acknowledge that reducing total fat has no effect on heart disease or obesity risk, but still recommends a 10 percent daily limit for saturated fat intake. This limit may eventually be found too conservative, but every body is different. We are wise to discuss personal nutrition and health needs with our diabetes care team before making any dietary changes.