Whole fat milk, yoghurt cause fewer heart diseases

Three servings of dairy a day could help lower your risk of heart disease a new study claims

Three servings of dairy a day could help lower your risk of heart disease a new study claims

In the study they explain that general dietary guidelines recommend minimizing intake of whole-fat dairy because it adversely affects blood lipids.

Compared to people who ate an average three servings of dairy per day, those who ate no dairy had higher rates of overall death (3.4 percent versus 5.6 percent, respectively), heart-related deaths (0.9 percent versus 1.6 percent), major heart disease (3.5 percent versus 4.9 percent), and stroke (1.2 percent versus 2.9 percent) during the study period.

A team of researchers from the McMaster University in Canada conducted a study on 136,384 people aged between 35 to 70 years old from 21 countries.

They found that compared to people who don't eat dairy, those who consume up to three servings a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death from cardiovascular disease. However, the findings suggests that dairy consumption, low fat or full fat, helped to prevent deaths and major cardiovascular diseases.

Dehghan and her co-authors note that the long-standing recommendation to consume low-fat dairy rests on concern over saturated fat, which has always been vilified for its links to cardiovascular disease. The researchers are now performing another analysis of the data, one looking at the association between dairy and cardiometabolic risk factors, and they have observed significantly lower blood pressure among those who consumed more dairy, she said.

The group with higher dairy consumption rates also had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. What's more full-fat options may improve health outcomes.

"If eating saturated fat is so bad, why do the French, who every day eat much more of it than the Anglo-Saxons, suffer from less than a third the rate of heart disease of Brits?"


Guidelines have typically recommended low-fat or no-fat dairy intake, "predominantly based on the presumed harms of a single macronutrient category (saturated fatty acids) on a single cardiovascular risk marker (LDL cholesterol), and concerns about higher calories in higher fat foods", the researchers noted. Higher intakes of milk and yogurt were both associated with a reduction in the primary composite endpoint of all-cause mortality and major cardiovascular disease events, but cheese intake was not. "We are suggesting the net effect of dairy intake on health outcome is more important than looking exclusively at one single nutrient".

The researchers who conducted the latest study concluded that the consumption of dairy should not be discouraged - and should perhaps be encouraged in low-income and middle-income countries where dairy consumption is low.

"This exclusively focuses on one single macronutrient-saturated fat-and a single risk factor, which is LDL cholesterol", said Dehghan.

Earlier this year the Government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published a consultation on saturated fat, which is part of a process of regularly assessing available evidence to see if guidelines should change.

That said, people should stick to low-fat dairy, she advised.

'Dairy can be an essential component of a healthy and balanced diet as they care a good sources of calcium, protein, and vitamins A and D'. "We're saying moderate consumption, regardless of fat, is safe", she said.

A new research challenges the widely held belief that those who consume less full fat are at higher risk of heart disease. Like most nutrition science, it relies on self-reported data from PURE participants about what they ate - data which is likely to be inaccurate. "Worldwide, the American Heart Association doesn't have any evidence from low- or middle-income countries", said Dehghan. "However, ideally our findings require confirmation in randomized trials evaluating the effects of increasing dairy consumption on BP, glucose, and clinical outcomes", Dehghan added.

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