People have probably told you over the years to avoid full-fat food options where you can and instead opt for their “healthier” low-fat alternatives, especially when it comes to dairy. However, a recent study found that contrary to popular belief, all of that low-fat dairy may actually raising your risk of showing symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder where a person experiences an ongoing decline in motor skills. Early symptoms may be hand tremors and stiff joints, and may progress later on to clunky movements, limited range of motion, loss of muscle control, speech or writing changes, and more. There’s no cure for it, but there are several treatment options to slow the onset and severity of symptoms, which may include medication or surgery.
While scientists don’t know the exact cause of Parkinson’s, they believe that in addition to genetics, environmental factors like diet and exercise play a role. In particular, research in recent years has moved to looking at which specific foods may increase or decrease someone’s risk of Parkinson’s.
A recent study from Harvard University that was published in Neurology looked into potential connections between Parkinson’s and full-fat dairy options versus low-fat ones, the latter of which have often been touted as being a “healthier” choice. However, after look at dietary survey data from over 128,000 participants during a span of 25 years, researchers discovered that participants who ate three or more servings of low-fat dairy products per day had a 34 percent higher likelihood of developing Parkinson’s than those who ate just one serving per day. Moreover, those who even had just one to two daily servings of low-fat dairy products still saw a 39 percent increased risk compared to those who who had fewer than one serving per day. Even more interestingly, scientists found no connection between full-fat dairy products and an increased risk of Parkinson’s.
Researchers don’t believe that low-fat dairy products directly cause Parkinson’s, and they say they need to do more work to parse the link between the two. However, other new studies have also back up the claim that low-fat dairy products may be worse for your health in the long run than full-fat ones. Scientists think this may be due to the lower amounts of sugar present in full-fat dairy options, as well as the fermentation process they go through.
In the meantime, while people work to figure out the link, it’s nice to know that you don’t need to worry too much about completely doing away with full-fat dairy products altogether!