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5. Switch to lower-fat dairy products.

Dairy products are packed with calcium, magnesium and protein, and fortified milk contains vitamins A and D. However, full-fat and even reduced-fat dairy products are also packed with saturated fat, which is bad for your heart and arteries. Fat is also very dense in calories; all types of fat have 9 calories per gram, while carbohydrate and protein have 4 calories per gram. By using low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) milk, yogurt, and cheese, you can get all of the nutrition benefits of dairy products with fewer (or no) fat calories.

If you are concerned about a loss of flavor when switching to lower-fat dairy products, try a gradual reduction in milk fat over time. For example, switch from whole milk to reduced-fat (2%) milk for one or two months until you get used to the flavor, then proceed over the next several months to low-fat (1%) and fat-free (skim) milk, which has only trace amounts of fat and cholesterol.

Originally Published November 5, 2009

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