Lowdown on dairy

ECU Joondalup researcher Dr Therese |O’Sullivan.
ECU Joondalup researcher Dr Therese |O’Sullivan.

Therese O’Sullivan studied the diets of 860 WA teenagers and found reduced fat dairy items did not have additional health advantages compared to full fat.

“We have long been recommending people eat low fat dairy on the assumption that because it has less calories and less saturated fat it is healthier for you, but there was very little out there in terms of good evidence that this is the case,” she said.

Dr O’Sullivan’s research found that for teenage boys, consuming full fat dairy was associated with a slightly better cholesterol profile and both types were related to better blood pressure.

She said there was no link between the type of dairy eaten and obesity.

“We found that those who ate more low-fat dairy were no better off,” she said.

“This could be because children and teenagers are actually quite good at regulating their food intake, so eating full-fat dairy makes them feel more full, potentially reducing their consumption of other foods, but this is something that requires further research.”

Dr O’Sullivan plans to run a dietary trial on the health implications of the two dairy types in children later this year.