Should Anyone be Eating Full Fat Dairy Products?

Sheri Cyprus

Most of us are aware of the dangers of too much saturated fat such as heart attack and stroke risks. Saturated fat is found in full fat dairy products, among others. Lower fat or non fat dairy choices are widely available. However, in some cases, eating full fat dairy products is thought to be more healthful than eating low or non-fat dairy products.

Dairy products and eggs.
Dairy products and eggs.

Between 1991 and 1999, Harvard University studied women who were trying to conceive or did conceive. The University study monitored the women's dairy intake by the use of questionnaires. The study found that those women that consumed full fat dairy products at least twice daily decreased their risk of infertility by at least 25%. After the study, some doctors suggested that women trying to become pregnant eat full fat dairy foods without adding too many extra calories or fat to the diet.

Whole milk can be bought in grocery stores.
Whole milk can be bought in grocery stores.

Babies need full fat dairy products up to two years of age. Children at this stage are growing very quickly and proper growth takes energy derived from the fat in foods. Also, fat in dairy foods helps in brain development and the calcium content strengthens the bones. Children and teens that are said to be underweight are often instructed by doctors and dieticians to eat full fat dairy products to provide weight gain while still gaining the health benefits of calcium.

Some studies have shown that whole milk drinkers and consumers of full dairy products such as cheese and ice cream gained less weight over many years than those who drank low fat milk and ate low fat cheese. Some experts say that people may eat less of the high fat varieties as they are more satisfying. The point is that controlled portion sizes of full fat dairy products must be consumed as too much fat will cause weight gain. Also, the amount of saturated fat in a diet has to be controlled or it can lead to serious health problems.

Animal fats such as those found in full fat dairy products build up plaque in the arteries and clog the arteries. This restricts the capacity of the arteries to properly distribute blood to the body's organs and tissues. Heart disease, heart attack or stroke can result.

Babies need to consume full fat dairy products until the age of 2.
Babies need to consume full fat dairy products until the age of 2.

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Discussion Comments


Umm to anon78537: saturated fat is the leading cause of heart disease in the U.S, according to the American Heart Association. Saturated fat is in several food items but should be minimized and moderated.

If you're eating whole-fat milk, whole-fat cheese, fatty meats, lunch meats and other items, it would be wise to cut out your intake of whole-fat items. I don't think the last paragraph suggests whole-fat dairy is the culprit for all saturated fat in the diet, but it is, in many cases, something that can be avoided, given that there are so many low-fat/skim options.


your last paragraph suggests that full fat milk causes heart attacks. that's just prejudice, not science. go and read some papers on dairy consumption, apologize, and join the enlightened who recognize that full fat dairy is fine. Then ask yourself why the world has demonized full fat dairy.


I switched back to full fat milk and lost a ton of weight, in part because I found that breakfast (when I drink milk) tides me over a lot longer than it used to. That means fewer potato chips etc. at work and elsewhere.

My overall fat intake is a bit higher but not by much. I've substituted the fat from snacks with milk fat. Bottom line, we should all be getting our fat and calories from real food (which could include whole milk) and not crap that passes itself off as food and has no nutritional value.


Some recommend to eat and drink the real thing. Of course, the real thing has to be taken in moderation.

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