Full-fat milk leads to leaner children, finds new research

Updated: November 18, 2016
Full-fat milk leads to leaner children, finds new research

A new study in Canada appears to go against conventional wisdom about whole versus skim milk.

Kids who guzzled whole milk – containing 3.25 per cent fat – had a body mass index that was 0.72 units lower than those who downed low-fat varieties.

And researchers say that is enough to take someone from being a healthy weight to overweight.

The study – involving 2,745 kids aged two to six – did not assess why consuming higher fat milk was associated with lower BMI scores.

But Dr Jonathon Maguire, who led the research, believes children who drank whole milk felt fuller than those who drank the same amount of lower-fat milk.

If children don’t feel full from drinking milk, they are more likely to eat other foods that are less healthy or higher in calories.

And this could lead to them consuming more calories overall.

Children who drank one glass of whole milk each day had comparable vitamin D levels to those who drank almost three times as much low-fat milk.

Dr Maguire, from St Michael’s Hospital, in Ontario, Canada, said: “Children who drink lower fat milk don’t have less body fat, and they also don’t benefit from the higher vitamin D levels in whole milk.

“It’s a double negative with low fat milk.

“What kind of milk our children should be consuming is something we need to seek the right answer for.”

“Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced from the age of two, provided your child is a good eater and growing well for their age.

“Skimmed or 1 per cent fat milk doesn’t contain enough fat so isn’t recommended for children under five.”

Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years while consumption of whole milk has halved over the same period.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.