Eating dairy products linked to lower death rates

Eating dairy products linked to lower death rates

"This study is specifically looking at whole milk or whole fat dairy which is something that traditionally has been demonized and seen as not good for us", explains registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey.

Among those who consumed only whole-fat dairy, higher intake (mean intake of 2.9 servings of whole fat dairy per day) was associated with lower rates of total mortality (3.3% vs 4.4%) and major cardiovascular disease (3.7% vs 5.0%), compared to those who consumed less than 0.5 servings whole-fat dairy per day.

The study draws on data collected from PURE, a large-scale research project that tracked more than 130,000 people from 21 countries across five continents for nine years.

Researchers say participants who stuck to about three servings of whole fat dairy every day had a less than four percent raise of major cardiovascular disease, compared to five percent among those who ate less than a half-serving.

Contrary to popular belief, consumption of around three servings a day of whole fat diary is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

"We are not saying people eating seven servings of dairy a day should increase their intake, but that three servings - moderation - is good for you".

Dairy consumption was highest in North America and Europe at more than four servings of total dairy per day and lowest in south Asia, China, Africa and southeast Asia at less than 1 serving of total dairy per day. A new large study however, has now shown that full-fat dairy and dairy products may be more beneficial for the heart. "Dairy plays a role in a healthy balanced diet, but too much can lead to high levels of saturated fat and salt - the UK's Eatwell Guide recommends choosing lower fat options to help prevent heart disease", she said.

The study ran for fifteen years (between 1 January 2003 - 14 July 2018) and deduced that dairy consumption was associated with lower risk of mortality and major cardiovascular disease events in a diverse multinational cohort.

The PURE study has been controversial for a wide range of findings contravening conventional dietary advice, from salt to vegetable intake.

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Current dietary guidelines for Americans from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion include language promoting the consumption of lower-fat dairy products.

Among individual foods, the composite endpoint was lower with more than one serving per day of milk (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.82-0.99, P=0.0529) or yogurt (0.86, 0.75-0.99, P=0.0051) but not significantly so with cheese (0.88, 0.76-1.02, P=0.1399) or butter (1.09, 95% CI 0.90-1.33, P=0.4113).

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.

The recommendation to consume low-fat dairy is based on the presumed harms of saturated fats on a single cardiovascular risk marker (LDL cholesterol). "We are suggesting the net effect of dairy intake on health outcome is more important than looking exclusively at one single nutrient".

However, past evidence has suggested there are a number of nutrients found in dairy products including calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins K1 and K2 and probiotics (in yoghurt) that could contribute to a healthy diet.

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

A new research challenges the widely held belief that those who consume less full fat are at higher risk of heart disease. They would possibly perchance nearly definitely also even be much less inclined to establish weight.

"Ideally, the PURE study group should consider another analysis in 5 to 10 years to confirm the findings of this initial analysis or, at the very least, should do an age-stratified analysis rather than an adjustment for age alone", write Louie and Rangan.

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