Many nutritional guidelines tend to recommend a low-fat diet. Although there’s no consensus among medical experts as to whether the low-fat diet has any heart benefits, it seems many people have taken this very seriously. But there’s a new research that says something different. The paper was presented on Tuesday at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology and suggests that limiting the intake of dairy products due to their fat content should be reconsidered, especially for people who consume yogurt and cheese, and not milk.
The paper noted that while for a long time now the consumption of dairy products has been thought to increase the risk of death through coronary heart disease and cancer, evidence of such a risk, especially among adult US citizens, appears to be very inconsistent. Dairy products contain high levels of saturated fat which is considered bad for heart health. The study maintains that the consumption of whole milk increases the risk of heart disease but it didn’t specify by how much.
However, other products like yogurt and cheese didn’t show any correlation to increased risk of heart disease. In fact, the study concluded that they may protect people from total mortality which means death from any other cause and cardiovascular-related mortality.
The research led by Dr. Maciej Banach from Poland examined data from 1999 to 2010. The data was picked from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey that’s conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of adults in the US who were part of this survey since 1999 amounted to 24,474 with an average age of 47.6 years. Just over half of the participants were women. During the follow-up period of about six years, 3,420 deaths were recorded among the study participants. 827 deaths were caused by cancer, 706 from cardiac-related issues, and 228 were because of cerebrovascular diseases.
A further examination of the data revealed that the consumption of any kind of dairy led to a 2% lower risk of death from any cause of death. Higher consumption of milk was also associated with an increased risk of heart disease. However, this finding was not conclusive. The study suggested that this hypothesis needs to be tested further.
The study also found that dairy foods like milk and yogurt are important sources of potassium which can be tough to get enough of with our normal diet. There are studies that show that the increased intake of potassium can help lower blood pressure and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Although dairy products are a major source of saturated fats that lead to increased bad cholesterol in the blood, recently published studies show that dairy products may also contain helpful fatty acids that can lower the risk of heart disease. Despite these findings, most medical professionals still maintain that a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise is the best weapon in the fight against heart-related issues. Limiting whole milk and eating cheese and yogurt in moderation is also recommended.