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Your mother probably told you to drink a glass of milk a day—but we’re guessing it was for the benefit of your bones, not your waistline. Well, we have good news if you followed her advice: Eating dairy at least twice a day may reduce your odds of being obese, according to a new study from Harvard, Brown, and Case Western Reserve Universities.
When the researchers analyzed the diets of 7,173 people, they found that avid dairy eaters tended to have lower body mass indexes (BMIs)—specifically, the study participants who consumed dairy at least twice a day were 37 percent less likely to be obese than those who ate the stuff only once a month.
Milk, in particular, was a major factor affecting the size of people’s waists: Daily milk drinkers were significantly less likely to be obese than non-drinkers—an association that only applied to women. The caveat? There was a BMI benefit only when the milk contained less than 3.4 percent fat (read: whole milk won’t help you).
What about other types of dairy? Although yogurt initially appeared to be linked to weighing less, the association disappeared after the researchers accounted for calcium intake. (And cheese was not included in the analysis.)