November 03, 2009
Full Fat Milk Drinking Children Weigh Less

Could the conventional mainstream wisdom about diet (more carbo, less fat) be, like, totally wrong? Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden find that children who drink full-fat milk have lower body mass index.

Eight-year-old children who drink full-fat milk every day have a lower BMI than those who seldom drink milk. This is not the case for children who often drink medium-fat or low-fat milk. This is one conclusion of a thesis presented at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The study showed that children who drink full-fat milk every day weigh on average just over 4 kg less.

"This is an interesting observation, but we don't know why it is so. It may be the case that children who drink full-fat milk tend also to eat other things that affect their weight. Another possible explanation is that children who do not drink full-fat milk drink more soft drinks instead", says dietician Susanne Eriksson, author of the thesis.

Better deep fat than the high fructose corn syrup found in soda.

The scientists also discovered a difference between overweight children who drink full-fat milk every day and those who do not. Children who often drink milk with a fat content of 3% are less overweight. The thesis shows also that the children eat more saturated fat than recommended, but those children who have a high intake of fat have a lower BMI than the children with a lower intake of fat.

For some children there is no deep fat. The children of Woody Allen's futuristic Sleeper knew (or will know) better.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 November 03 05:02 PM  Aging Diet Weight Studies

Jake said at November 3, 2009 7:14 PM:

"This is an interesting observation, but we don't know why it is so. It may be the case that children who drink full-fat milk tend also to eat other things that affect their weight."

That answer is why you should never trust your health to a mainstream nutritionist.
The answer is simple and very apparent:

1. Full fat milk leaves the child satiated and less likely to eat snacks. Skim milk leaves the child hungry and more likely to snack on carbs that make the child fat.

2. Many vitamins cannot be absorbed unless consumed with fat. Full fat milk allows the child to absorb the nutrients from the rest of the meal. Skim milk does not allow the child to absorb fat soluble vitamins and thus leaving them starved for more food.

matt said at November 3, 2009 7:30 PM:

knowing that I have a slow metabolism, and that it is a struggle for me to keep from gaining weight, no matter how little I eat. Also knowing this is a family trait, I always have low fat foods like skim milk. Also that is what I would feed my kids. My kids would be more likely to be overweight then other kids, because of my fat genes. I think this likely explains it the result. Self selection bias. The skinniest girl I knew in college ate steak and drank whole milk every night at the dining hall. I'm a salad eating vegetarian, who barely ever snacks, she weighted 105 pounds. I weight 180, run every day and still have a beer gut. Trust me its genes determine what you eat, and what you choose to feed your children. Nothing here move along...

Thras said at November 3, 2009 8:01 PM:

Fat has more calories per gram. So the idea was to fill up on bulky low-calorie/gram foods to lose weight. Unfortunately, it never actually worked in the lab.

Replacing the fat in whole milk with sugar (which is basically what you're doing by drinking skim) makes sense according to the above logic. Too bad it's just one of those things that has no connection to the real world of homeostatic systems, biochemistry, and evolutionary adaptation to particular food sources.

Avoid refined carbohydrates and eat plenty of fat to lose weight.

wcw said at November 3, 2009 10:14 PM:

I am pretty sure my 19-handle BMI is genetic, but I drank only whole milk growing up, and lots of it. Maybe there's an omitted variable here.

Matlock said at November 3, 2009 10:59 PM:

I haven't the foggiest idea as to Swedish traditions but it struck me that it could simply be the case that drinking 'full fat milk' is a traditional thing in Sweden and mothers that follow this tradition (maybe they drank this as a kid and figured it did no harm or was even good for them) also feed their kids a more traditional (and healthier) diet generally.

Half Sigma said at November 4, 2009 7:04 AM:


Fruit Juice has more fructose per ounce than soda.

If the kids aren't drinking milk, they're probably drinking fruit juice, which stupid SWPL parents think is healthy because it's natural.

random said at November 4, 2009 8:22 AM:


I'll second that. Fruit juice is the result of taking out all of the healthy parts of a natural food and leaving the worst.

When my oldest was a toddler, I gave her a juice box at the grocery store, and we ended up having to leave because she went absolutely nuts from the sugar high. It's unfortunate that we're brainwashed as parents to think that juice is a healthy alternative to pop or Kool-Aid. We now limit our kids juice intake as much as most parents limit pop or candy.

I'm also curious about these kids' environment / lifestyle. The only kids I know drinking whole milk are farm kids (with cows). They are also significantly more active than most other kids - farming is usually hard, physical labor all day long.

Bob Badour said at November 4, 2009 5:54 PM:

Yes, Randall, it's like totally wrong.

As a kid, I basically lived on whole homogenized milk. I ate almost no vegetables or fiber. At 19 years old and 5'10", I weighed 120lbs. Then, I moved into residence at the university where I found an endless supply of pancakes, mashed potatoes and pizza.

Then again, as a teen, I also drank massive amounts of Pepsi, which kinda discounts my theory. But it was Canadian Pepsi made with white cane sugar not HFCS.

Marco said at November 4, 2009 6:44 PM:

Whole milk has conjugated linoleic acids which reduce bodyfat. Whole milk drinkers are probably butters users, too - this probably plays a role. There were some studies done in the 1960s that showed modern industrial vegetable oils screw up thyroid activity. Sugar and white flour do a number on your metabolism, too. Fructose not only screws up metabolism, but it also causes fatty liver and disturbs leptin activity - so you eat even more.

I drink whole milk daily and it helps me lose weight. I find that if I do the opposite of what a nutritionist says, I tend to do well. I guess if I ever want to get fat I'll tune into Oprah or Dr. Oz...

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