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13th Nov 2019

Children who drink full-fat milk are slimmer than those raised on skimmed milk, study finds

Trine Jensen-Burke

In an attempt to make sure our kids eat healthily, many of us are serving them (and ourselves) skim or low-fat milk, almost by default assuming that this is a better choice than the more calorific full-fat variety.

However, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children who drink full-fat milk actually weigh less than those who drank semi-skimmed milk.

2,745 children between the ages of two and six took part in the study, and researchers at the University of Toronto suggested the result is because full-fat milk leaves children feeling more full, and makes them less likely to snack on unhealthy foods.

Study participants who drank whole milk with a fat content of 3.25 per cent had a body mass index score 0.72 units lower than those who drank semi-skimmed milk with a fat content between one and two per cent.


This, the researchers say, could mean the difference between being a healthy weight and being overweight.

As well as this, children who were given full-fat milk to drink were also found to have higher levels of vitamin D. This may be because vitamin D is soluble in fat, which there is less of in semi-skimmed milk.

This is what Jonathan Maguire, lead author of the study, had to say:

“‘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.”