Full-Fat Foods That Are Proven Healthy

Fatty foods have taken a beating for too long. Recent studies are shedding a clearer light on full-fat foods and their role in a healthy lifestyle. When a media whistle goes off to “bad rap” a food item there are plenty of companies ready to provide a miracle replacement. These are typically preservative-filled products lower in fat, sugar, salt, and even no calories.

Sometimes, low-fat or fat-free alternatives may be higher in added sugar or processed ingredients. While exclusively choosing fat-free or low-fat foods may not be necessary, it is still recommended that total fat intake should make up around 30% of your daily energy needs

New research suggests that we can put away full-fat fears and enjoy the real deal to provide us with fat-soluble nutrients, increased satiety, and a variety of health benefits. 


Full-Fat Dairy

dairy products
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Full-fat dairy has been a current research topic for health benefits. Exciting feedback from eighteen observational studies has indicated “that total dairy intake does not contribute to cardiovascular disease incidence or death.” 

Full-fat milk, cheese and yogurt are rising to the top as contributors to a “potential protective effect on the risk of cardiovascular disease.” The Luxembourg study examined 1352 participants and collection of cardiovascular health scores (CHS). Participants showed significantly higher values when consuming full-fat dairy products at least 5 times per week.

Other positive findings included maintaining a normal body mass index (BMI) and being able to stick to healthy eating practices. The Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care related high intakes of dairy fat to lower risks of central obesity. More research is ongoing to nail down specifics but the great news so far is full-fat milk still does a body good!


Real Butter


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Pass the butter because full-fat is back. Butter has been whipped in more ways than one and wrongly accused of being unhealthy. Recent studies are revealing health benefits linked to this full-fat stick of heaven and consumer butter purchase is on the rise once again.

Butter just so happens to be a valuable source of fat-soluble vitamins. If enjoying grass-fed butter, it will be rich in vitamin K2 shown to help with calcium metabolism and reduced risk of cardiac disease. 

Numerous case-controlled and cohort studies followed over 21 years have not been able to tag butter as the cause of cardiovascular heart disease (CHD) and indicated that butter intake did not predict CHD incidence”. While research is still ongoing to discover even more health benefits from butter, remember that like all calorically-dense foods, fat should still be enjoyed in moderate amounts.


Egg Yolks


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Egg yolks have been pulled out and dumped down the drain long enough. Thankfully science has come full circle with providing positive feedback for eating whole eggs vs. egg substitutes. 

An Abstract Lipid Study where participants consumed 3 whole eggs for a 12-week period was made available on March 2015. According to the research, daily whole egg consumption leads to greater increases in plasma HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C). High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the good cholesterol in our body. We strive to keep that at higher levels through nutrition and exercise. 

The study also provided feedback specific to the egg yolk serving as a uniquely rich and highly bioavailable (>90 %) source of dietary phospholipids.” Phospholipids are naturally-occurring lipid compounds found in the body that are used for a variety of structural and metabolic purposes in our cells. 

Research indicates eating whole eggs promotes increased metabolism and beneficial shifts in HDL composition. The positive feedback warrants further research for more conclusive evidence. In the meantime, cracking a whole egg into that scramble appears to boost the nutrient profile. 



Lean Beef or Steak
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Fire up the grill and enjoy a steak for dinner. Red meat is another taboo labeled food thought to be linked to heart disease (HD). Science spoke too soon and media jumped at the opportunity to blast red meat as the cause of HD.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has come to the rescue with more accurate information on the subject of “Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet.” Evidently, all red meat was thrown under the bus instead of singling out lean beef to study as beneficial. 

A short study on differing meats was conducted recruiting healthy men and women with elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol in our body. Participants consumed a controlled feeding of 4 different diets (HAD: 33% total fat, 12% saturated fat (SF), 17% protein; DASH: 27% total fat, 6% SF, 18% protein, and 28g beef; BOLD: 28% total fat, 6% SF, 19% protein, and 113g beef; and BOLD+: 28% total fat, 6% SF, 27% protein, and 153g beef) for a 5-week period with one week break between each.

There were a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL with the DASH, BOLD and BOLD+ diets compared to the HAD diet showing a lower saturated fat diet could be beneficial. The study concludes low saturated fats in lean beef have favorable effects on heart disease and can be included in a heart-healthy diet. 

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Huth PJ, Park KM. Influence of dairy product and milk fat consumption on cardiovascular disease risk: a review of the evidence. Adv Nutr. 2012 May 1;3(3):266-85. doi:10.3945/an.112.002030

  2. Andersen CJ, Blesso CN, Lee J, et al. Egg consumption modulates HDL lipid composition and increases the cholesterol-accepting capacity of serum in metabolic syndromeLipids. 2013;48(6):557-567. doi:10.1007/s11745-013-3780-8

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