Though you might think eating low-fat dairy foods is a healthy move, new research suggests the habit is tied to a slight rise in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
In the study, researchers analyzed data on about 130,000 men and women, tracking their dietary habits every four years and the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. After 25 years, more than 1,000 people developed Parkinson’s, a progressive neurodegenerative illness affecting coordination and movement.
Those who consumed at least three servings of low-fat dairy a day had a 34% higher risk of getting the disorder than those who only consumed one serving a day. Looking specifically at milk consumption, the researchers found that drinking more than one serving of low-fat or skim milk daily was also linked with a 39% higher chance of developing Parkinson’s.
No such association was seen with the consumption of full-fat dairy products, such as whole milk.
“It is important to note that the risk of Parkinson’s disease is still low, even among people in our study who consumed higher amounts of low-fat dairy or milk,” said study author Katherine Hughes, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense. It was published online June 7 in the journal Neurology.
Roughly 1 million people have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the United States, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed daily.
The article goes on to mention that milk protein may play a role in reducing blood levels of urate. High levels of urates have been linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s. That led me to wonder how does low-fat processing of dairy vary from full-fat?
Most sources I reviewed just talk about separating the cream but the process is much more involved. They add milk solids to improve the color, texture, and taste of low-fat milk. These are milk proteins that are forced through high pressure atomizers. This process alters the protein structure to one that is unrecognized by the human digestive tract.
The source of the milk is also different. Most low-fat dairy products are made from high volume dairy farms using higher levels of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemical compounds that can be transmitted in the milk. Contamination of low-fat dairy products was also cited as a possible cause.
Finally, there is this whole concept of processing. The more a food is processed, the more natural ingredients removed and the more synthetic ingredients added.
The Bottom Line:
I know it’s hard to reverse your thinking and you’ve been taught for a full generation how bad fat is for you. You now know, or should know, that the studies indicating fat causes heart disease were fabricated and funded by the sugar industry. Naturally occurring fat is good for you. It’s the modified fat (low fat and trans-fat) that causes health issues.
Source: June 8, 2017 National Institutes of Health