Drinking skimmed milk instead of semi-skimmed ‘can add 4.5 years onto your life’

It’s currently the most popular type of milk in the UK, but if you drink semi-skimmed milk, a new study may persuade you to change to skimmed.

Researchers from Brigham Young University have revealed that drinking skimmed milk can add 4.5 years onto your life .

Dr Larry Tucker, who led the study, said: "If you're going to drink high-fat milk, you should be aware that doing so is predictive of or related to some significant consequences."

The study involved 5,834 participants, including those who drank whole milk, semi-skimmed milk (2%) and skimmed milk.

During the study, the researchers analysed the participants’ telomeres – the end caps of human chromosomes that are known to correlate with age.

The older we get, the shorter our telomeres get.


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The analysis revealed that the more high-fat milk the participants drank the shorter their telomeres were.

In fact, for every 1% increase in milk fat consumed, telomeres were 69 base pairs shorter, which translates to more than four years of additional ageing.

Dr Tucker explained: “Milk is probably the most controversial food in our country. If someone asked me to put together a presentation on the value of drinking milk, I could put together a 1-hour presentation that would knock your socks off. You'd think, 'Whoa, everybody should be drinking more milk.'

“If someone said do the opposite, I could also do that. At the very least, the findings of this study are definitely worth pondering. Maybe there's something here that requires a little more attention.”

Surprisingly, the study also revealed that people who don’t drink milk at all had shorter telomeres than those who drank skimmed milk.

Dr Tucker added: “It's not a bad thing to drink milk. You should just be more aware of what type of milk you are drinking."

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