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High-Fat Milk Consumption Tied to Faster Biological Aging

Drinking 1 percent milk instead of 2 percent accounts for 4.5 fewer years of molecular aging in adults

THURSDAY, Jan. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — People who drink low-fat milk experience less biological aging than those who drink high-fat milk, according to a study recently published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.

Larry A. Tucker, Ph.D., from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess milk consumption variables among 5,834 U.S. adults. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to measure leukocyte telomere length.

The researchers found that milk consumption frequency was not related to telomere length, but milk-fat intake was linearly and inversely related to telomere length after adjusting for the covariates. Adults had more than four years of additional biological aging for each 1 percentage point increase in milk fat consumed (e.g., 1 percent to 2 percent). Mean telomere lengths differed across the milk-fat intake categories (e.g., milk abstainers, nonfat, 1 percent, 2 percent, and full-fat milk). Between the extremes of milk-fat intake (nonfat versus full-fat), the mean telomere difference was 145 base pairs, representing years of additional biological aging for full-fat milk consumers. The association between milk fat and cellular aging may be partly due to saturated-fat intake differences across the milk-fat groups based on results of effect modification testing.

“It’s not a bad thing to drink milk,” Tucker said in a statement. “You should just be more aware of what type of milk you are drinking.”

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