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Want To Live 5 Years Longer? Drink Low-Fat Milk!

That’s the surprising conclusion researchers at Brigham Young University came to recently when they looked into the effects of the consumption of different Dairy products on aging. According to the team, lengthening your life could be as easy as drinking low-Fat milk every day.

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What they did

Dietary experts and doctors have long held that using low-fat Dairy Products was healthier than consuming High-Fat products. Dr. Larry Tucker and his team wanted to find out how much difference drinking Low-Fat Milk made in aging, compared to drinking High-Fat Milk.

They studied a group of 5,834 U.S. adults, half of whom reported drinking some milk at least once a day. Another quarter consumed milk at least once a week.

DNA tests were used to determine the effects of consumption of Milks with different Fat concentrations on telomeres, the neucleotide end caps of human genes. The older we get, the more times our cells divide, and each time a cell divides, its genes lose a little bit of their end caps. The effect is well known and quantified, and can be used to gauge aging.

What they found

Tucker and his team found that adults who drink Non-Fat or Low-Fat (1 percent) Milk regularly have longer (younger) telomeres than those who drink High-Fat (2 or 3 percent) Milk. As an aside, the study found that adults who drink no Cow’s Milk at all tend to have the same (shorter) teleomere length as those who drink High-Fat Milk.

“It was surprising how strong the difference was,” Tucker told reporters. “If you’re going to drink high-fat milk, you should be aware that doing so is predictive of, or related to some significant consequences.”

The takeaway

“Milk is probably the most controversial food in our country,” Tucker said. “If someone asked me to put together a presentation on the value of drinking Milk, I could put together a 1-hour presentation that would knock your socks off. You’d think, ‘Whoa, everybody should be drinking more Milk.’ If someone said do the opposite, I could also do that. At the very least, the findings of this study are definitely worth pondering. Maybe there’s something here that requires a little more attention.”

My take

I agree with Tucker that more ‘attention’ is needed, to the notion that drinking Milk has real, positive benefits for Adults. Not long ago, dieticians and doctors warned Adults against drinking Milk, saying Milk was for growing youngsters, and that by the time we reach adulthood, we don’t need it anymore. Tucker seems to have proven that wrong in spades.

I note that his findings seem to support current Canada’s Food Guide and U.S. Dietary recommendations that we should all drink some Milk each week.

I am wondering if Tucker’s Low-Fat vs. High-Fat findings can be translated to other Dairy products, as well? How about Yogurt? Ice Cream? Cream Cheese? Sour Cream? Low-Fat versions of these are already available in almost every supermarket. How much more would it help to use the Low-Fat versions? Could we, perhaps, up the ante to 10 years?

~ Maggie J.