In a world that banishes fat, many of us have opted for skim or non-fat products. Although this is an okay practice if you are looking to lose weight, when it comes to cholesterol, you may want to opt for full fat, but only for milk.
A three-week crossover study revealed that consuming full-fat, whole milk led to greater improvements in cholesterol compared to drinking skimmed milk. Skim milk and non-fat milk have long been promoted as a beverage to reduce weight and prevent heart disease, but these recommendations came before the evaluation of whether or not removing fat from milk would actually benefit heart health at all.
In recent times, several studies have been carried out to test whether or not low-fat milk had any scientific evidence to support a healthy heart. Thus far, the research has not proven that skim milk is a better alternative than full-fat milk in reducing cholesterol levels. Other studies on full-fat milk have revealed that it can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A recent study from the University of Copenhagen tested the effects of consuming 500 ml of either skim milk or whole milk over the course of three weeks then switching for another three weeks.
Cholesterol tests were taken to determine how the different milk types affected cholesterol levels.
The findings uncovered that LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) did not change significantly between the different milk types but whole milk was found to increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). This shows that whole milk has a greater positive effect on cholesterol compared to skim. With higher HDL cholesterol in the body, more LDL cholesterol can be removed, which is healthier for the heart.
If you currently consume skim or low-fat milk and are trying to lower your cholesterol, then you may want to switch to whole milk instead to improve your HDL levels. Although in general low-fat is best for weight and heart health, when it comes to milk, the fatter the better.