Full-fat milk leads to leaner children, says study

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Children drinking full-fat milk are leaner than those given a low-fat option, a new study has revealed.

And those who drink full-fat milk have higher vitamin D levels than their peers on the same amount of skimmed milk, the research found.

Paediatrician Dr Jonathan Maguire, who led the study at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, 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.”

More vitamin D from drinking full-fat milk

He found children who drank whole milk with a 3.25 per cent fat content had a body mass score which was 0.72 units lower than those who drank low-fat milk with 1 or 2 per cent fat content.

Publishing his results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, he claimed the findings could be because children who drank full-fat milk felt fuller for longer than those who had had the same amount of low-fat milk and so were less likely to snack on less healthy or higher calorie foods.

The study, which looked at 2,745 children aged two to six-years-old, also revealed children who drank one cup of whole milk had comparative vitamin D levels to those who drank almost three cups of one per cent fat milk.

Dr Maguire said: “What kind of milk our children should be consuming is something we need to seek the right answer for.” He called for a closer examination of existing nutritional guidelines around milk fat consumption to make sure they are having the desired effect. Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years while consumption of whole milk has halved over the same period.