Eliminating whole milk from your diet may be not as healthy as you used to think, a new report by The Washington Post suggests. However, the U.S. dietary guidelines recommends to stay away from whole milk, linking it with vascular diseases.

Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fat products such as cream, cheese, butter, other whole milk dairy products and fatty meats which also contain dietary cholesterol. Credit: Made Real

Marcia Otto, the lead author of studies published in 2012 and 2013, said, “By warning people against full-fat dairy foods, the United States is losing a huge opportunity for the prevention of disease. What we have learned over the last decade is that certain foods that are high in fat seem to be beneficial.”

Experts writing the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” have to ask themselves if the so-called saturated fats, found in a majority of products, really contribute to heart diseases. Heart diseases are the number one cause of mortality in the U.S., and the government blames it on saturated fats, although its link to a healthier life hasn’t been proven yet.

People have been sceptical on this recommendation, made without trustable information and research. “If we are going to make recommendations to the public about what to eat, we should be pretty darn sure they’re right and won’t cause harm. There’s no evidence that the reduction of saturated fats should be a priority,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist, epidemiologist, and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University.

Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary at the House Agriculture Committee, said, “The updated guidelines will serve a valuable purpose in helping Americans make better food choices,” according to CBS News.

The guidelines will be focused on the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, grains and lean proteins and limited amounts of fat, sugar and sodium.

Nevertheless, some members of the Congress stated that they don’t longer trust the recommendations. “From my constituents, most of them don’t believe this stuff anymore. You have lost your credibility with a lot of people,” said Rep. Collin Peterson, from Minnesota.

The Washington Post analyzed several studies made on the subject the last few years that support the idea that saturated fats have no real connection with the cause of vascular problems.

“As further scientific review showed, none of the experiments was perfectly designed to assess the danger of saturated fats, and the results in some cases were modest. Moreover, the diets showing a benefit were not just low in saturated fats, they were also high in unsaturated fats – the ones common in fish, nuts and vegetable oil,” the report says.

Research tells us that cutting saturated fats and replacing them with carbohydrates, will not reduce heart disease risks. Nevertheless, if we replace them with unsaturated fats —found on fish, nuts, and vegetable oils— it might lead us to a healthy heart. Results say that cutting saturated fats do little to reduce heart disease.

“There is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease,” said a study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Besides the debate of the effects of consuming saturated and unsaturated fats, experts say that other consequences appeared from this campaign supporting low-fat diets.

“With more fat-free products than ever, Americans got fatter,” said Walter Willett, dean of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Experts believe that consumers have to decide what type of milk —and for that matter, any product containing fat— is best for them based on their specific health history, genetics, and consumption habits. They believe that it is time to demystify the influence of milk on their health overall.

“There is no scientific basis for current dietary advice regarding dairy. Fears (about whole milk) are not supported by evidence. The message that it is okay to have whole fat food, including whole fat milk, is slowly seeping into consciousness. But there is always a lag between evidence and changes in attitude,” the report concludes, with the testimony of Jocelyne R. Benatar, a researcher from New Zealand.

Source: The Washington Post