Is Dairy Good for Weight Loss? | Benefits of Full-Fat Dairy

This informative post will show you the benefits of eating full-fat dairy products and give you the reasons why you should incorporate them into your diet. And yes, dairy is good for weight loss!

It’s been proven that full-fat dairy is good for you. It’s heart-healthy and more, yet we are not eating it. This informative post will tell you the benefits of eating full-fat dairy products and give you the reasons why you should incorporate them into your diet. And yes, dairy is good for weight loss!

People generally think that full-fat dairy is bad for you. People are skeptical about buying anything with fat these days, and that’s not always a good thing.

I think it’s because we associate the word fat with unhealthy junk foods like french fries, potato chips, ice cream, fast food and more.

But the truth is, there are a lot of perfectly good for you fats out there. Fats that your body needs to be healthy and to keep it working at maximum capacity. 

One of those fats is full-fat dairy. Just like avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and peanut butter, full-fat dairy is healthy and should be a part of your diet.

I get a lot of people commenting and asking questions on the blog about full-fat dairy. They ask if it really is healthy for them and is dairy good for weight loss. 

That’s why I decided to write this post – to dispel the myths around full-fat dairy and to point out the benefits of it.

I’ve done a the research and compiled the info into one neat package for you. Read on for the full scoop!

Overhead view of a glass bowl of Greek Yogurt French Dressing with a spoon in the bowl.

WHAT IS FULL-FAT DAIRY?

Let’s put it out there. Full-fat dairy is delicious. There is a full-bodied feel to a recipe with dairy and a taste that just surpasses a dish made with skim milk, for example. Recipes that are made with Greek yogurt, like yummy protein shakes, or Homemade Ranch Dressing mixed into a crunchy salad are creamy and protein-packed, and they leave you with a feeling of satiety and healthiness.

But to give an explanation plain and straightforward, full-fat dairy is much less processed than reduced-fat dairy. There are no additional steps to processing because the fat is not being removed. This also means that whole milk, yogurt, and cheese fit into a clean-eating lifestyle because we are looking to eat foods with little processing.

WHAT ABOUT SATURATED FAT IN FULL-FAT DAIRY?

I think that the saturated fats issue is where the confusion comes in. Full-fat dairy does contain saturated fats. In fact, more than half of the fat in milk is saturated, the type of fat that has been proven to raise LDL (or bad cholesterol) levels. But – and you’ve got to take this in – there is not a significant link between dairy fats and heart disease or stroke.

Let’s break this down and explain it further. Saturated fats increase LDL (bad cholesterol). But, at the same time, they increase HDL (good cholesterol). A study done at the University of Texas Science and Health Center in Houston states the fact that both LDL and HDL are raised, and the effect is an equal ratio. That means there is no need to worry about the saturated fat. And don’t forget, whole-fat dairy is richly nutrient-dense, too.

Overhead image of a bowl of full-fat cottage cheese, with a spoon in it and ready to eat.

IS DAIRY GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?

So, let’s take a minute and go back to the misconceptions of full-fat. Eating dairy will not make you fat. Poor dietary choices of all kinds, overeating, and lack of exercise will.

How is dairy good for weight loss? There are a few things we can talk about.

Full-fat dairy sates the appetite. I’ll use yummy cottage cheese as an example. It’s a great breakfast or snack when topped with almonds or fruit and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

A half-cup of full-fat cottage cheese has 100 calories and 12 grams of protein. That’s a lot of protein in a small serving! The protein is mainly casein protein, which is digested slowly. This translates to feeling full for longer. You eat less because you are not hungry – so no mindless snacking, meaning you can lose weight.

In fact, eating cottage cheese as your breakfast meal may suppress hunger hormones, and as well, the release of sugars into the bloodstream is slowed down, which prevents you from feeling hungry. Full-fat dairy, because it is not processed and is made from a few simple ingredients, does not contain unnecessary (and unhealthy) fillers like guar gum and carrageenan either.  

To maintain your weight (or reach a healthy weight, if that’s your goal), it often means a lifestyle change. Usually, this is a revamp of food choices. Part of your success will be contingent on how well you stick to your healthy eating plan. (And if you need help in that department, take a look at my video on clean-eating for beginners.) You see, if you restrict yourself too much, it’s hard to stay on track. 

That’s where full-fat dairy can help. Foods like whole milk, full-fat cheeses and yogurt, and even butter are good-for-you foods that serve to satisfy but are a part of a healthy diet.

WHY IS FULL-FAT DAIRY GOOD FOR YOU?

This is an important question to answer right off the top. There are other reasons, too, that I’ll mention in sections below. But firstly, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that eating full-fat dairy over skim or low-fat products reduces the risk of being overweight by 8 percent. And, the intake of whole milk products may reduce the chance of strokes.

Another study showed that people who ate full-fat dairy foods had a 44% lower risk of getting diabetes. You see, the fat delays the absorption of the natural sugar contained in the dairy. A consistent rise in blood sugar means less risk of insulin resistance. 

Also, going back to the blood sugar impact, low-fat dairy may increase sugar levels (and, as a result, trigger hormone activity), resulting in acne.

Did you know that 90% of the sugar we eat comes from highly processed foods? That’s another good reason to eat full-fat dairy. You won’t be getting any extra sugar there! 

An article written for the Oxford Academic Journal of Nutrition says that milk proteins contain enzymes that inhibit fat cells, potentially reducing the chance of obesity. The proteins lessen the risk of high blood pressure, too.

Side view image of strawberry frozen yogurt made with full-fat Greek yogurt, in a bow and garnished with fresh strawberries.

FULL-FAT DAIRY IS GOOD FOR THE HEART

We’ve talked about plain Greek yogurt, and we’ve touched on cottage cheese, too. Let’s look at full-fat cheese, which is known to raise the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood. Yep, that’s that good cholesterol, which means that you can continue to make your favorite enchiladas.

It’s been proven that the fat from cheese doesn’t contribute to coronary heart disease, and in fact, dairy has fatty acids that have inflammatory properties.  

FULL-FAT DAIRY IS GOOD FOR THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

Did you know that full-fat dairy contains less lactose than low-fat types? This makes it easier for people with lactose intolerance to digest than low or no-fat dairy. As well, the butyric acid in full-fat products is good for your gastrointestinal health. This acid is thought to promote better gut health. 

FULL-FAT DAIRY REDUCES YOUR RISK OF METABOLIC SYNDROME

Metabolic syndrome is a combo of factors that impact your health, including high cholesterol, being overweight, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. All of these factors contribute to diabetes and heart disease. Nutrient-dense dairy products, when eaten alongside a healthy diet, contribute to a healthier you in general.

A side by side image or making Blueberry Frozen Yogurt in a food processor by combining fresh blueberries, full-fat Greek yogurt, raw honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice and pulsing until smooth.

SHOULD I EAT FULL-FAT DAIRY?

Yes, you should! Not only is full-fat dairy good for you in regards to avoiding illnesses and keeping the body healthy, but it also contains phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and protein. Vitamins A, B-12, and D are found in milk. All of these nutrients contribute to the growth of muscles and the strength of your bones.

Using full-fat dairy in recipes like frozen yogurt is a good way to add the extra vitamins and nutrients to your diet. So, to me, the weight loss benefits combined with the nutrients package found in the list above make for a definite yes to eating full-fat dairy.

IS FULL-FAT GREEK YOGURT GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?

Yes, full-fat Greek yogurt is good for weight loss, and I’ll tell you why. Because it is so protein-rich, it keeps you full for longer. Just remember, eat plain Greek yogurt because flavored varieties typically have added sugar.

Adding full-fat Greek yogurt to your diet, along with other protein-rich foods, will boost your metabolism. Combine that with exercise, and you will be on the way to weight loss. Your muscle mass will improve, too. Of course, your food intake can’t be excessive, and the food you are eating must include lean meats, veggies, and whole grains.

WHICH DAIRY PRODUCTS ARE THE HEALTHIEST?

Dairy products with just a few ingredients are the healthiest because they are not overly processed. Extra sugar isn’t added to make it taste better, thus reducing the calorie count and the effects on your blood sugar. You’ve got a healthy balance of fats in few-ingredients foods like plain Greek yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese. And yes, we can include butter in here, too!

Remember, including full-fat in your diet does not mean a license to go all out. You still need to make healthy choices when it comes to full-fat dairy. Instead of store-bought ice cream, for example, choose something simple, like frozen yogurt. It’s still creamy and delicious but does not contain tons of sugar.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

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