"This research raises questions regarding our assumptions about dairy fat," says epidemiologist Judith Wylie-Rosett, head of behavioral and nutritional research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "We probably don't need to be quite so rigid about avoiding it."
If you want a piece of cheese now and then, you can certainly have it, says Wylie-Rosett, who wasn't involved in the study. "And if you like 2 percent milk instead of skim milk, go ahead and use it," she says. "An eating pattern that includes some whole-fat dairy as well as fruits, vegetables and legumes is reasonable. But you have to choose wisely. Cheeseburgers and a lot of processed food is not the way to go." That glass of 2 percent milk, for example, has about 40 more calories than skim milk — not a huge jump, but if you drink a lot of milk, it can add up.