Close your eyes and imagine your grocery store routine. Perhaps you hit the fresh produce isle first before picking up a few healthy grains like quinoa and buckwheat, and then soon enough, you’ve reached the dairy isle. After settling on a dozen or so eggs, it’s time to grab a gallon of milk. Anyone familiar with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans will habitually skip over milk labeled full fat as if it didn’t exist at all, and will settle for one that’s 2% or less.
However, the recent findings of two studies have uncovered a connection between those avoiding full fat dairy products and susceptibility to becoming overweight or obese and developing diabetes.
Discovering connections between habitual eating habits/dietary selections and obesity is paramount, as a new report has claimed there are now more obese than underweight people in the world, totaling at a whopping nine percent of the entire population of seven billion individuals. This report goes on to say that medical interventions (whether medicine or surgical procedures) are simply not enough to fight the obesity epidemic, and will require a coordinated global initiative in order to foster a healthy lifestyle for all, no matter their socio economic background or access to fresh, healthy, affordable food.
The first step is taking a hard look at Dietary Guidelines and reevaluating each and every restriction and limitation and whether or not its the right choice for every person.
The first groundbreaking study, published in the journal Circulation, found a connection between individuals consuming a diet including full-fat dairy products and a reduced risk in developing diabetes. How much of a reduced risk? A whopping 44 percent. For 15 years, researchers analyzed the blood taken from 3,000 adult participants in order to search for biomarkers of a full-fat diet and found “that people with high levels of the biomarkers are less susceptible to developing diabetes than those who have lower levels.”
The second study, published in the American Journal of Nutrition, discovered that among the 18,438 middle-aged healthy women participating in the Women’s Health Study, those who were following a diet that included more high-fat dairy products “reduced their risk in being overweight and obese by 8 percent.”
Forty-four and eight percent. These numbers are simply too big to ignore, and thus we must reconsider our grocery store selections. Should we still graze over those full-fat milks, cheeses, and yogurts? A report from the Times points out that most dietary guidelines encourage people to substitute full-fat products with lower-or-no-fat ones in order to reduce the amount of cholesterol and unhealthy fats in the body.
“The idea is really simple, but it may have backfired a little because people started loading up [on] carbohydrates to compensate for the missing fats. The body converts carbohydrates into sugar, which in turn is converted into fats.”