The Top Benefits of Dairy in Weight Loss! Don’t Give It Up!

By Lily •  Updated: 03/07/22 •  7 min read

When it comes to weight loss, people generally believe that full-fat dairy is bad for you. They’re skeptical about buying anything with fat these days, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. This misconception is partially related to the fact that we associate the word fat with unhealthy junk foods. 

The truth is, there are plenty of perfectly good fats out there. In fact, your body needs certain fats to be healthy and work at maximum capacity. So, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of dairy in weight loss.

Benefits of Dairy in Weight Loss

Full-Fat Dairy – What is It?

Let’s be honest with ourselves – full-fat dairy is delicious. There’s a full-bodied feeling to a recipe that includes dairy and a taste that is just superior to a dish that is made with skim milk.

Recipes made using greek yogurt are creamy and packed with protein, leaving you feeling healthy and satiated. 

But, to provide a straightforward, plain definition, full-fat dairy is not nearly as processed as reduced-fat dairy. There are no additional processing steps because there is no fat being removed, which also means that whole milk, cheese, and yogurt fit into a clean eating lifestyle. This is because we want to eat foods that have been processed as little as possible. 

Saturated Fat in Full-Fat Dairy

The issue with saturated fats is where most of the confusion sets in. It’s true that full-fat dairy does contain saturated fat. In fact, more than half of all of the fat in milk is saturated.

Saturated fat has been proven to elevate LDL levels, but there is no significant link between the fats in dairy and stroke or heart disease. 

Saturated fats increase your levels of bad cholesterol but also improve your HDL or good cholesterol levels. The University of Texas recently conducted a study and found that both HDL and LDL are increased when consuming dairy, and the effect is equal in ratio.

So, as long as you don’t overdo it, you really don’t need to worry about saturated fats too much. Remember: full-fat dairy is wonderfully rich in nutrients. 

Dairy and its Role in Weight Loss

Consuming dairy will not make you overweight if you control your portions. Overeating, poor dietary choices, and lack of exercise most definitely will. 

Before we continue on about the benefits of eating dairy, I want to be truthful with you and also tell you the drawbacks.

Full-fat dairy is a lot higher in calories, so if you are trying to stay in a calorie deficit, eating full-fat dairy will make it a lot more difficult.

However, my issue with low-fat, fat-free, or dairy substitutes is that most of the time the ingredients are just plain crap.

For example, the notorious butter substitute “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!” is made up of: Water, Soybean Oil, Salt, Sweet Cream Buttermilk, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate And Calcium Disodium EDTA (Used To Protect Quality), Natural And Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate Beta Carotene (Color).

Dairy products that are not full-fat are replaced with ingredients that have inflammatory and processed oils, and/or are stripped of their nutrients.

So even though, low-fat or fat-free dairy may be lower in calories, they are most likely not healthier. And not to mention, that these unhealthy ingredients in food can mess with your hormones and slow-down your metabolism!

I know what you may be thinking now. Do I need to choose between low-calorie dairy and eating healthy?

No! There are alternatives. For example, drink plant-based milk instead of cow’s milk. A cup of almond milk can be as low as 30 calories. Cottage cheese and greek yogurt are also low in calories and high in protein.

Another option is to cut down your portion sizes. For example, you can still eat cheese, just eat less of it, this way you aren’t giving it up.

Benefits of Dairy in Weight Loss

But how is dairy good for losing weight? Well, there are a couple of talking points on this topic.

For starters, full-fat dairy is very good at satisfying our appetites. Let’s take delicious cottage cheese as an example – it makes for a great snack or breakfast when topped with fruit, almonds, and a dusting of cinnamon. Half a cup of full-fat cottage cheese has 12 grams of protein and 100 calories – which is a lot of protein in a small serving!

The protein in cottage cheese is primarily casein protein, which the body digests rather slowly. Consuming casein protein means that you’ll feel full for longer, causing you to eat less because you’re just not hungry. That translates to less mindless snacking and improved weight loss. 

As a matter of fact, eating cottage cheese as a meal for breakfast can suppress hunger hormones and the release of sugars into the bloodstream.

This process prevents you from feeling hungry. Because full-fat dairy is unprocessed and is made from a few simple ingredients, it does not contain unnecessary fillers, like carrageenan or guar gum. 

Losing weight with dairy

If your goal is to lose weight or maintain your healthy weight, you will likely have to make a lifestyle change – which will probably involve a change in your food choices.

Part of your success is going to depend on how well you stick to your healthy eating plan, but if you are placing too many restrictions on yourself, you’re going to have a hard time sticking to those restrictions. 

This is where full-fat dairy comes into play. Foods like full-fat cheese, whole milk and yogurt, and even butter are good for you because they serve to satisfy while still fitting into your healthy diet

 lady wear red pullover smiling holding cottagecheese milk glass

Other Benefits of Full Fat Dairy

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study. They found that eating full-fat dairy as opposed to low-fat or skim products reduces your risk of being overweight by a significant 8%. What’s more, consuming whole milk products might also reduce your chance of stroke. 

Low-fat dairy has also been known to increase blood sugar levels, triggering hormone activity as a result, which can lead to acne. 90% of the sugar that we consume is found in highly processed foods, which is yet another reason to be incorporating full-fat dairy into your diet – these kinds of products don’t contain any added sugar. 

The Heart Benefits

As we’ve already mentioned, full-fat cheese has been proven to increase the body’s HDL levels, which is healthy cholesterol. This means that you’re more than welcome to make your favorite cheese dishes because – in moderation – they can be good for you.

The fat from cheese has also been proven not to contribute to coronary heart disease and has fatty acids that are inflammatory. 

Benefits to Your Digestive System

Full-fat dairy contains less lactose than low-fat dairy types, which might come as a surprise to most of you. This means that it’s much easier for people who have lactose intolerance to digest full-fat dairy products than it is for them to digest low or no-fat dairy. 

What’s more, there is something called butyric acid in full-fat products, which is a chemical that is good for the health of your gastrointestinal system. It’s an acid that is said to promote better gut health. 

Final Thoughts

There are many upsides to including dairy in your weight loss plan. Of course, if you have an intolerance or are allergic, give it a wide berth.

But if not, there are many benefits of dairy in weight loss. We have covered just a few of the above – just the tip of the iceberg.


Hi, I'm Lily! Like you, I have struggled with my weight. It was not an easy journey but I was able to lose 40 pounds and have kept it off for 14 years. My goal is to share with you all the research, tips, and tricks that I have learned over the years to help you lose weight also.