According to a new study that researched the world’s largest dairy product consumers, individuals that consume higher dairy fat are less prone to cardiovascular diseases than those who consume lower amounts.
An international group of researchers examined the consumption of dairy fat of people in Sweden. It is the country with one of the highest dairy production and consumption levels. They studied around 4,150 individuals around the age of 60 years. They measured fatty acids in blood levels that are commonly found in dairy products.
A Study Links High Dairy Fat Consumption With A Low Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
They observed the subjects for an average of sixteen years to study how many of them had strokes, heart attacks, serious conditions, and deaths.
They also examined many other risk factors including lifestyle, income, age, underlying diseases, dietary habits, and found that people with high fatty acid had a very low risk of cardiovascular diseases. High fatty acids indicated high dairy fat intake, and consumers did not increase their death risk from all these causes.
The scientist team then tallied these findings from data of other populations with the Swedish results. They combined these results with 17 other types of research including more than 43,000 people. They were from Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The joint senior author of the study and George Institute for Global Health’s senior researcher, Matti Marklund, said that these findings were partly influenced by factors other than dairy fat but it still does not conclude any harm caused by dairy products.
He said that they found in the study that individuals with high levels had a low risk of cardiovascular diseases. He found the relationship interesting, but he said that there is a further need for a thorough study to understand the link between dairy fat and health.
The study’s lead author and a George Institute researcher, Kathy Trieu, said that conception of fermented products was linked with heart benefits in many previous studies.
In a statement, she said that the health impact of dairy products is dependent on the type of milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter instead of fat content. This raised concerns if dairy product avoidance is beneficial for heart health.
She added that this study concluded that limiting dairy fat or products wouldn’t be the best option for heart health.
Trieu said it should be noted that dairy products are rich in saturated fat and also in many other nutrients which should be part of your diet for health. Trieu added that fats found in nuts, non-tropical vegetable oils, and seafood consist of larger benefits compared to dairy fats.
Ireland’s Institute of Technology Sligo’s Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences’ lecturer, Brian Power, said that the research forces us to rethink our knowledge about disease and food.
Writing to CNN in an email, Power said that we should not avoid dairy products. This knowledge is lost when talking about what we know about healthy diets. He was not involved in the study.
Tufts University’s Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory’s Director and senior scientist, Alice Liechtenstein, while talking to CNN said that she was worried that the results of the study would be interpreted in a way that dairy products will lessen the risk of cardiovascular diseases. She added that the data suggesting dairy product consumption leading to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases is still not enough.
She explained that the data from the study showed a group that had a lower body mass index, were physically fit, had lower type two diabetes rates, reduced smoking rate, and had cardiovascular disease. They also had high vegetable, fish, and fruit intake and a significant level of education. All these factors lowered cardiovascular disease risk.
The research was published in PLOS Medicine.
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