Portrait of cowFor most of my life I’ve had it drilled into my head that skim and non-fat milk are better for my health. I don’t think I ever even drank a drop of whole milk until I had my daughter and felt obligated to try a sip of what I was giving her, or in the occasional latte at a fancy coffee shop. But now, new studies are showing that whole milk may be the better choice. Come again?

In an article published July 1 in JAMA Pediatrics, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr.  David S. Ludwig, and chair of the department of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health
Dr. Walter Willett question why whole milk has gotten a bad rep for so long considering there’s not much evidence to back this up.

One of the main reasons we’ve been told that whole milk is the lesser choice is the implication that it will cause weight gain, thereby leading to greater rates of obesity. However, there have been very few studies actually done comparing weight gain amongst those who drink whole vs. skim milk. And according to Dr. Ludwig and Dr. Willett, just because something has less calories doesn’t mean it will cause you to gain weight any slower.

In fact, the opposite could be true since lower-calorie products may not fill you up as much as full-fat products, and in turn, you’ll eat more to compensate.In fact, Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer, the author of another study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, shared with TIME  “We were really surprised when we looked at the data and it was very clear that within every ethnicity and every socioeconomic strata, that it was actually the opposite, that children who drank skim milk and 1% were heavier than those who drank 2% and whole.”

So who wins? Basically, it sounds like the jury is still out on the skim vs. whole debate, and the entire dairy debate in general, so keep your eyes and ears open and do what makes you comfortable.

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