Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Full-fat dairy may boost longevity and health

Full-fat dairy may boost longevity and health

According to lead author Dr Mahshid Dehghan, a senior research associate in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University, this study refutes advice that states low-fat dairy is good for the heart. Those who consumed an average of 3.2 daily servings had a mortality rate of 3.4 percent compared with 5.6 percent for those who didn't consume any dairy.

The global collaboration of researchers asked over 135,000 people in 21 countries to complete a food diary at the beginning of the study, and followed their health for an average of 9.1 years.

They found that compared to people who don't eat dairy, those who consume up to three servings a day have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death from cardiovascular disease.

"Current worldwide healthy eating guidelines suggest that people should eat between two and four portions of fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk each day and limit whole fat dairy intake to prevent heart disease".

This coverage gave the impression that the study had revealed whole-fat dairy to be better for your health than low-fat versions - however, the study did not find this.

The research means that spirited dairy merchandise of all sorts is said to a lower threat of premature death, heart problems and stroke.

She said: 'If you have issues digesting dairy products, before completely cutting them out of your diet, seek professional help and they can test if you have any dairy allergies and if you are lactose intolerance.

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).

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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.

Compared to the no intake group, the high intake group (mean intake of 3.2 servings per day) had lower rates of total mortality (3.4% vs 5.6%), non-cardiovascular mortality (2.5% vs 4%), cardiovascular mortality (0.9% vs 1.6%), major cardiovascular disease (3.5% vs 4.9%), and stroke (1.2% vs 2.9%). This new finding is contrary to conventional dietary guidelines. She added that it is wrong to focus only on a single nutrient - namely fat.

The researchers wrote that "consumption of dairy products should not be discouraged".

Those benefits came with three portions of full-fat milk, butter, cheese or yogurt a day.

"Focusing on low-fat is predominantly based on the assumption that saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol".

For starters, dairy wasn't bad yesterday - the Australian Dietary Guidelines now prescribe 2.5 daily serves of "milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives (mostly reduced fat)", and they're based in slow-moving-but-solid science. But dairy contains many other components which may be healthy, such as amino acids, vitamin K, calcium, and magnesium.

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. "Therefore, when you're focusing on low-fat dairy, we're scaring people about the harms". While multiple weighted food records may be more accurate, they require extensive training, motivation, awareness and literacy which limits the practicality for such a large long-term study.

Carson gave the example of patients with high cholesterol who are told to stop eating high-fat dairy. "However, ideally our findings require confirmation in randomized trials evaluating the effects of increasing dairy consumption on BP, glucose, and clinical outcomes", Dehghan added.

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