In a surprise finding, researchers of a new study saw that a high intake of dairy fat may not be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Read on.

Cardiovascular disease, one of the most common causes of death globally, has many known risk factors. Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy lifestyle habits are often responsible for CVD and a regular diet of rich, fatty foods is one of the main contributors to this condition. So, health-conscious people have always strived to eat healthy to prevent this and many other diseases. Many people even avoid dairy products that are rich in fats, or they go for skimmed or fat-free dairy products to achieve optimum health. But according to new research, for cardiovascular disease, this may not be the right approach. Researchers from The George Institute for Global Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Uppsala University say that people with higher intakes of dairy fat enjoyed a lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with low intakes. They specifically say that higher intakes of dairy fat are not associated with an increased risk of death.

Dairy consumption and its effects

With the consumption of dairy products on the rise across the world, researchers tried to get a better understanding of the health impact of this trend. For the purpose of this study, researchers looked at the dietary habits of over 4,000 Swedish adults around the age of 60 years. They analysed the amounts and types of dairy foods they’ve eaten. This was a difficult task because dairy is commonly used in a variety of foods. Then they measured the blood levels of specific fatty acids, or fat ‘building blocks’, that are found in dairy foods.

The reason for this is that this gives a more objective measure of dairy fat intake that doesn’t rely on memory or the quality of food databases. This particular fatty acid is found mainly in dairy foods and can be used to reflect intake of dairy fat. Researchers followed all participants for an average of 16 years to see record the number of heart attacks, strokes and other serious circulatory events that they may have suffered and to see how many died from these events.

CVD risk lowest in people with high intake of dairy fat

At the conclusion of the study, researchers saw that people with the highest levels of fat building blocks in their blood had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. When they saw the results, they compared it with the results of 17 similar studies in other countries. This makes it the most comprehensive evidence to date on the relationship between this more objective measure of dairy fat consumption, risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

Taking other known CVD risk factors like age, income, lifestyle, dietary habits, and other diseases into account, researchers saw that CVD risk was lowest for those with high levels of the fatty acid (reflecting high intake of dairy fats). Those with the highest levels had no increased risk of death from all causes. However, researchers agree that further studies are needed to corroborate the findings of this study.

But all dairy products are not equal

There is still some ambiguity in dietary guidelines regarding the consumption of dairy fats. Some dietary guidelines advice low-fat dairy products for optimum health while others say that dairy products can be included in a healthy diet plan. But they do put emphasis on the importance of selecting certain dairy foods over others. Here are some examples:

  • Yoghurt is better than butter.
  • It is better any day to avoid dairy products that contains added sugar.
  • Fermented dairy products are very beneficial for the heart.

Health impact of dairy foods depend more on the type rather than the fat content. So be prudent when you choose your food.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

You May Also Like

Cheryl Burke reflects on her life before sobriety and admits to drinking “seven days a week.”

Dancing With The Stars pro Cheryl Burke got very candid about life…

Lung Transplantation in India: What has changed in 10 years?

Patients with end-stage lung disease have only 10% chance of being alive…

New Gene Therapy for Childhood Epilepsy: UCL Researchers Spark Hope for Seizure-Free Future

Find out “New Gene Therapy for Childhood Epilepsy: UCL Researchers Spark Hope…

Could IPOB be responsible for the death of late Dr. Chike Akunyili?

Could IPOB be responsible for the death of late Dr Chike Akunyili:…