What do Steve Tyler, Tom Brady and Dr. Phil have in common? Very little — except that they all appeared in “Got Milk?” ads at the ages of 54, 25 and 54, respectively. They might reconsider that today (their current ages are 71, 43 and 70), unless the ads said Got 1% Milk? That’s because drinking low-fat, 1% milk makes your RealAge considerably younger than drinking whole or 2% milk that’s loaded with sat fat!
Researchers at Brigham Young University looked at 5,834 U.S. adults and found that for every 1% increase in the amount of milkfat people regularly consumed (say by drinking 2% instead of 1% milk, or 1% instead of skim), they increased their body’s aging by four-plus years! How did the researchers figure that? By looking at the participants’ telomeres, the end caps on their chromosomes that erode with age — or from unhealthy habits. The milkfat-swigging folks had greatly shortened telomeres.
We’ve often cautioned that eating full-fat dairy products clogs your arteries and contributes to an older RealAge. This study, published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, is one more piece of solid evidence.
Skim milk not your thing? Tasty dairy alternatives include unsweetened almond, soy, oat, cashew or rice milks. Get the nutrients in dairy from other sources. For calcium, rely on tofu, collard and turnip greens, kale, bok choy and canned salmon with bones. Potassium? Enjoy bananas, cantaloupe, broccoli, sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Get protein from legumes, whole grains, lean chicken and fish like ocean trout.