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USA TODAY - Drinking fattier milk will make us fatter ourselves, right? Maybe not. New research reported by NPR suggests that whole milk is actually linked to lower weight.

A study by Swedish experts found that, over a 12-year period, middle-aged men who used whole milk, cream, and butter had a lower risk of becoming obese than did peers who avoided fattier dairy products.

Meanwhile, a European review of 16 studies found most of them showed a lower risk of obesity among people consuming dairy products high in fat. What's more, a study last year pointed to more weight gain in kids who drank low-fat milk.

"We continue to see more and more data coming out (suggesting) consumption of whole-milk dairy products is associated with reduced body fat," a National Dairy Council executive tells NPR.

Why? It could be because we feel full more quickly after consuming whole-milk products, resulting in less eating.

The phenomenon could also be tied to "bioactive substances in the milk fat," says the exec; those substances may help us burn off the fat.

But you may not want to reach for the richer stuff just yet: The saturated fat in whole milk could boost heart risk, a particular concern for those with high cholesterol.

In short, notes Greatist via Forbes, "Choosing between whole, skim, or low-fat milk is largely a matter of personal choice in terms of diet, use, and preference."

Confused? The site offers a handy milk comparison chart.

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