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Full-fat dairy products may offer surprising health benefits

Whole milk craze
Whole milk may be at least as healthy as low-fat milk 01:30

Like many Americans trying to stay healthy, Sarah Stubbs spent most of her life drinking skim or two-percent milk, but she recently switched to full-fat milk after her son was born.

"Whole milk lattes, whole just if I'm drinking a glass of milk. I'll do whole milk with yogurt," she told CBS News.

Stubbs says she always thought low-fat milk was better for her health, but nutrition experts say there can be big health benefits to including full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese into your diet.

"Even though there's more calories, that fat is very satiating so it keeps people full for longer and they tend to not eat as much otherwise during the day," said registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey.

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Studies also show that the fat can slow down the body's absorption of sugar, helping lower the risk of diabetes.

Research published last month in the European Journal of Epidemiology analyzed 29 previous studies on the health impact of eating low-fat and full-fat dairy products, involving almost 1 million people from around the world. It found that consuming milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products — either low-fat or full-fat — had no impact on rates of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, or deaths from any cause.

As more people welcome full-fat dairy back into their diets, full-fat yogurts are popping up on store shelves. They can be a healthier option since many low-fat yogurts have more added sugar to enhance the taste, experts say.

Rumsey advises that it's important to look at your overall diet before making the switch.

"For someone who is already consuming a lot of saturated fat, red meat products, a lot of animal fats and not so much of the good stuff, I probably wouldn't want to add in more saturated fat," she said.

Stubbs says she's enjoying the taste of whole milk – and hasn't noticed any weight gain.

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