Last updated: February 16. 2013 6:04PM - 206 Views

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"The other day I caught a brief segment of "Dr. Oz" on TV. He was saying that milk and yogurt with some fat is better for you than nonfat. I was not able to listen to hear his reasoning on this. Would you care to comment on the idea.?"

Be happy to. And since I did not see the segment you refer to, these are strictly my comments:

The recommendation to choose milk with some fat may be due to studies that look at the effect of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) — a naturally occurring trans-fat found in milk, meat and dairy foods. Unlike the harmful trans fats found in foods containing partially hydrogenated oils, CLA may actually be beneficial. Studies have found CLA may have a role in the prevention of heart disease and some types of cancer.

Another potentially beneficial substance in dairy fat is "trans-palmitoleic acid." In 2010, scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health observed that subjects with the highest amount of this substance in their blood had a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Are we confused? Until we learn more, here's what we know: High fat dairy foods are loaded with saturated fat — the fat implicated in raising "bad" LDL cholesterol in our blood. Low-fat dairy foods have been shown to help lower blood pressure and possibly help with weight loss. Some components in dairy fat — such as CLA and trans-palmitoleic acid — may offer additional health benefits.

I vote to mix and match two to three servings a day of low-fat or nonfat dairy foods ... and save the higher fat choices for special occasions.

— MCT Information Services

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