New Swedish research suggests that whole-fat dairy products may decrease incidence of obesity.
A Swedish study consisting of 1500 men has concluded that "A high intake of dairy fat was associated with a lower risk of central obesity and a low dairy fat intake was associated with a higher risk of central obesity." In regards to an explanation for the results an NPR News interview with Greg Miller, executive vice president of the National Dairy Council states
We continue to see more and more data coming out [finding that] consumption of whole-milk dairy products is associated with reduced body fat.
While the solution may be simple, Miller feels that it may also be complex
There may be bioactive substances in the milk fat that may be altering our metabolism in a way that helps us utilize the fat and burn it for energy, rather than storing it in our bodies.
Additional studies examining the relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and obesity, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease suggest that "the observational evidence does not support the hypothesis that dairy fat or high-fat dairy foods contribute to obesity or cardiometabolic risk, and suggests that high-fat dairy consumption within typical dietary patterns is inversely associated with obesity risk."
While there may be some benefits to whole-fat dairy products, the concern over cholesterol still lingers. Many dairy products are still high in saturated fat which has been linked to increased rates of heart disease.