For years we've been told skim milk is better than whole milk for preventing obesity, but recent European studies suggest otherwise, that milk with higher fat levels help people lose weight, not gain it.

It sounds counter intuitive, but researchers found middle aged men who consumed whole milk, butter and cream were less likely to be obese over 12 years than those who drink skim. But before you switch, Dr. Thomas Kottke says hold on.

There's a lot of thin people who have heart attacks, said Dr. Kottke.

Whole milk's saturated fats put you at a greater risk for heart disease.

For example, Finland in the 1960s they had the highest heart disease rates in the world and they've gone to skim milk, said Dr. Kottke.

Dr. Kottke says the one change cuts heart disease rates in half. So what's the best approach to stay healthy and thin?

A dietary pattern that's mostly vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, skim milk is overall the healthiest dietary pattern, said Dr. Kottke.

It's not clear why the men in the study who drank whole milk ended up thinner. One theory is that the higher fat content made them feel full, so they were less likely to overeat.

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