In a new study, researchers found that drinking low-fat milk—both nonfat and 1% milk—is strongly linked to less aging in adults.
The team examined 5,834 U.S. adults and found people who drink low-fat milk experience several years less biological aging than those who drink high-fat (2% and whole) milk.
The research was conducted by a team at Brigham Young University.
In the study, the team examined the link 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).
Telomeres are the nucleotide endcaps of human chromosomes.
They act as a biological clock and they’re extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, humans lose a tiny bit of the endcaps. Therefore, the older people get the shorter their telomeres.
Nearly half of the people in the study consumed milk daily and another quarter consumed milk at least weekly.
Just under a third of the adults reported consuming full-fat (whole) milk and another 30 percent reported drinking 2% milk.
Meanwhile, 10% consumed 1% milk and another 17% drank nonfat milk. About 13% did not drink any cow milk.
The team found the more high-fat milk people drink, the shorter their telomeres are.
For every 1% increase in milk fat consumed (drinking 2% vs. 1% milk), telomeres were 69 base pairs shorter in the adults studied, which translated into more than four years in additional biological aging.
When the team 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.
The team says if people are going to drink high-fat milk, they should be aware that doing so is predictive of or related to some big consequences.
The lead author of the study is exercise science professor Larry Tucker, Ph.D.
The study is published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.
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