Drinking the right milk can increase or decrease aging, research finds

A study from Larry Tucker, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University studied the relationship between telomeres (endcaps of human chromosomes) and milk consumption in about 5,800 U.S. adults.

The findings published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found a strong correlation between high-fat milk consumption and rapid aging. This is important because telomeres are what would say are a “biological” clock that reduces in length every time a cell replicates. As a result, as you age, your  telomeres become shorter.

According to Food Business News, the study found that “For every 1% increase in milk fat consumed (2% milk vs. 1% milk), telomeres were 69 base pairs shorter, which translates to approximately four additional years of biological aging.” That number doubled with whole milk drinkers compared to non-fat drinkers.

“It was surprising how strong the difference was,” Tucker 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.”

Science Daily reported, about half of the participants in the study consumed milk daily and a quarter consumed milk weekly. A third of adults drank whole milk and another 30 percent consumed 2% milk, while 10 percent drank 1% milk and 17 percent drank non-fat milk. The other 13 percent did not consume any milk at all.

Most surprisingly, that the 13 who did not drink milk had shorter telomeres than the 17 percent of people who drank low-fat milk.

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

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