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New research suggests “good” fat may be good for your cholesterol. Whole milk may help raise “good” cholesterol and could be considered part of a healthy diet that’s also good for your heart, according to a new study from the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

When adults drank two cups of whole milk every day for three weeks, they had higher levels of good cholesterol that promotes heart health (HDL) and similar levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar (risk factors for heart disease) as when they drank the same amount of fat free milk for the same period of time. Based on these findings, researchers concluded whole milk can be part of a heart-healthy diet as long as calories are taken into account.

This study adds to a growing body of research that suggests whole milk can fit within a healthy diet, and some studies suggest it may have additional benefits for both adults and kids – including maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough vitamin D. Researchers followed more than 18,000 healthy-weight women for nearly a decade and found those who consumed more whole milk and full-fat milk products (1.3 servings every day) were less likely to become overweight or obese compared to women who didn’t consume any full-fat dairy at all, according to a study from the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

Whole milk may also give kids a vitamin D advantage, according to another study from the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Kids who drank whole milk had higher blood levels of vitamin D than their peers who drank low-fat milk, even when the total amount of milk they drank was the same. Researchers believe this might be because milk fat helps kids’ bodies absorb vitamin D more efficiently.

Experts agree milk plays an important role in a nutritious, balanced diet, and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products each day. Many people are surprised to learn whole milk has the same essential nutrients as low-fat and fat-free milk, so no matter which type of milk you choose to pour in your cereal bowl, use in your smoothie or fill up your glass, you can rest assured that all dairy milk – from fat-free to whole – is simple, wholesome and naturally nutrient-rich.

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