Dairy consumption can help lower rates of cardiovascular diseases

STOCK  Getty Images People enjoy ice cream in this undated stock

A new study in the Lancet finds that milk really does a body good.

Compared to the no intake group, the high intake group, who had a mean intake of 3.2 servings of dairy per day, had lower rates of total mortality (3.4 per cent compared with 5.6 per cent), non-cardiovascular mortality (2.5 per cent vs 4 per cent), cardiovascular mortality (0.9 per cent vs 1.6 per cent), major cardiovascular disease (3.5 per cent vs 4.9 per cent), and stroke (1.2 per cent vs 2.9 per cent).

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.

Of PURE participants who consumed full-fat dairy, three or so servings a day was associated with lower rates of total mortality and major cardiovascular disease, compared to those who consumed nearly no full-fat dairy a day. "This study suggests dairy consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in low and middle income countries, but this was not the case for those with higher incomes comparable to the United Kingdom", said the chief nutritionist at PHE, Dr Alison Tedstone.

Comment on dairy consumption generally, she added: "It's not advisable for people to reduce their intake of lower fat options if they are concerned".

Dairy consumption was highest in North America and Europe (368g each day or above four servings of total dairy per day) and lowest in south Asia, China, Africa and south east Asia (less than one serving of total dairy per day). Nor does it show that full-fat dairy is better than low-fat dairy.

The study also found that people who consumed less than a half serving of whole fat dairy per day had higher rates of mortality and cardiovascular disease than those who had three servings.

"It also adds weight to the evidence that saturated fats from dairy [probably apart from butter] are not associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, unlike some other sources".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's dietary guidelines for 2015 to 2020, for instance, suggests eating fat-free or low-fat dairy in its key recommendations.

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. 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.

"Diet is one of the most important modifiable risk factors of chronic disease", lead author Dr Mahshid Dehghan, a senior research associate at McMaster University, said. "Worldwide, the American Heart Association doesn't have any evidence from low- or middle-income countries", said Dehghan. "Last year, we published results from PURE showing that saturated fat was inversely associated with mortality".

But, Jimmy Chun Yu Louie, MNutrDiet, PhD, of the University of Hong Kong, and Anna Rangan, PhD, of the University of Sydney, an accompanying commentary cautioned against changing guidelines just yet in an accompanying commentary.

Dehghan pointed out that individuals in some countries-Sweden, for example-already consume plenty of dairy and said they are not encouraging people from these countries to eat more yogurt, milk, or cheese. "We're saying moderate consumption, regardless of fat, is safe", she said.

That said, people should stick to low-fat dairy, she advised. They would possibly perchance nearly definitely also even be much less inclined to establish weight.

A new research challenges the widely held belief that those who consume less full fat are at higher risk of heart disease.

The findings are consistent with previous meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials, according to the researchers.

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