The great dairy debate: should you buy full-fat or fat-free?

It’s been an issue of contention among health experts for years, with some saying full-fat dairy is the way to go, while others swear by fat-free versions. Now, new research is aiming to settle the debate once and for all.

For years, many practitioners thought light and fat-free versions of dairy products were better for your health and your waistline.

The argument was that stripping the dairy of its fat content meant people got all of the nutrients from the dairy, like calcium and protein, and none of the fatty calories or diseases that come along with a high-fat diet.

Now though, after extensive testing and analysis, researches say people who eat full-fat dairy are no more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes than those who consume low-fat dairy products.

They also pointed out that when it comes to your waistline, full-fat dairy may actually be better for you. The research found that people who consumed full-fat products were slimmer than those on a fat-free diet.

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Dr Mario Kratz, first author on the review, said that out of the 25 studies conducted by his team, 18 had “lower body weights, less weight gain, or a lower risk for obesity among full-fat dairy eaters”. The remaining seven studies were inconclusive.

“In terms of obesity, we found no support for the notion that low-fat dairy is healthier,” he said, as reported in Time.

“None of the research suggested low-fat dairy is better.”

One of the reasons why full-fat doesn’t make you fatter is because of the nutrients in it. Researchers say it doesn’t necessarily matter that full-fat dairy has higher calories because the nutrients in them keep you fuller for longer.

People who consume low-fat dairy tend to become hungrier faster and often reach for processed or sugary foods to satisfy their hunger. This means they end up consuming more calories overall, which leads to weight gain.

The researchers hope their findings will help people make healthier choices at the checkout and lead the call for shoppers to embrace full-cream products.

Do you buy full-cream or low-fat dairy? Will you change to full-cream in light of this research?