Because of the role dairy fat is believed to have in causing heart disease, the government health publication, Dietary Guidelines for Americans says “Replace whole milk and full-fat milk products with fat-free or low-fat choices.” Recent research has reopened this question and even indicated that whole milk may have health benefits. “Scientists who tallied diet and health records for several thousand patients over ten years found, for example, that contrary to the government advice, people who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease.”
Furthermore, there is also evidence that the saturated fats in whole milk may be the kind that tends to increase both “good” and “bad” cholesterol and that the “bad” cholesterol produced from milk fat is predominantly the less harmful type. (See Washington Post)
This year, when “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” is due for one of its regular updates, the U.S. Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion may need to revisit the question whether the saturated fats in dairy products actually contribute to heart disease. While awaiting any changes in this guidance (or even if the guidance is not changed), consumers may, at least, begin relaxing their vigilance against whole milk, which is otherwise a good, natural food.