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NMU 152 – High Fat Milk Speeds Aging Compared to Low Fat Milk

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 152 (Feb 12, 2020)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: One Percent Milk Slows Aging Compared to Two Percent Milk

Source: Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2019)


For many years I have cautioned patients about drinking 2% milk, whole milk, cream, ice cream, cheese, and other high fat milk and dairy products. The type of saturated fat in these foods is known to raise blood cholesterol levels, increase blood stickiness and increases whole-body inflammation. These risk factors promote heart disease, stroke, and other vascular diseases – very common problems in our society. In 2019 an eye-opening human study showed that high-fat milk products are also associated with faster aging of the body compared to drinking low-fat (1% milk) and non-fat milk. The study, which involved 5,834 adults, measured the telomere length of the participants’ cells. Telomeres are like shoelace tips at the end of our DNA (genetic material). Telomeres act as a biological clock, as they’re length is highly correlated with the aging of our cells and our body. Each time a cell replicates our telomeres get a bit shorter. Older people have shorter telomeres than younger people, but we have some control over how fast telomeres shorten, and thus, how fast we age. As telomeres shorten, signs of aging become more evident, our internal organs are unable to sustain optimal function, and there is an increased chance that cells will morph into cancer cells.

In this study, researchers examined the relationship between telomere length and both milk intake frequency (daily drinkers vs. weekly drinkers or less) and milk fat content consumed (whole vs. 2% vs. 1% vs. skim). Overall the study showed that the more high-fat milk people drink, the shorter their telomeres. The study revealed that for every 1% increase in milk fat consumed (drinking 2% vs. 1% milk), telomeres were 69 base pairs shorter, which translated into more than four years in additional biological aging. When the researcher analyzed the extremes of milk drinkers, adults who consumed whole milk had telomeres that were a striking 145 base pairs shorter than non-fat milk drinkers. (that would be about 8 additional years of additional biological aging) The head researcher stated that the study findings provide support for the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020), which encourage adults to consume low-fat milk, both nonfat and 1% milk, and not high-fat milk, as part of a healthy diet.

I concur with these recommendations, as low and non-fat milk are great sources of calcium and high-quality protein for the human body. Consuming 1% or non-fat (0%) Greek yogurt is even better in my view, as it contains even more protein, less lactose and is a great source of calcium and probiotics, which help support the gut microflora. Of course, some people have milk allergies in which case, hai

I have included the scientific reference in the text below.


Larry A. Tucker. Milk Fat Intake and Telomere Length in U.S. Women and Men: The Role of the Milk Fat Fraction. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2019; 2019:


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great

Dr. Meschino

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