Consumption of even full-fat dairy products does not increase danger, international team of experts says

Consuming cheese, milk and yoghurt even full-fat versions does not increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to research that challenges the widely held sentiment that dairy products can injury health.

The findings, from an international team of experts, belie the view that dairy products can be harmful because of their high saturated fat content. The experts dismiss that panic as a delusion[ and] mistaken sentiment.

The ensues come from a new meta-analysis of 29 previous analyzes of whether dairy products increase the risk of death from any cause and from either serious heart problems or cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that such foodstuffs did not raise health risks of any of those events and had a neutral impact on human health.

This meta-analysis indicated there were no associations between total dairy, high- and low-fat dairy, milk and the health outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease, mentions the report, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Ian Givens, a professor of food chain nutrition at Reading University, who was one of the researchers, said: Theres quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but thats a delusion. While it is a widely held sentiment, our research shows that thats incorrect.

Theres been a lot of publicity over the last five to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a sentiment has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they dont.

However, the governments health consultants advised consumers to continue to exercise caution about feeing too many products high in saturated fat and to stick to low-fat versions instead.

Dairy products form an important part of a healthy balanced diet; nonetheless, many are high in saturated fat and salt. Were all ingesting too much of both, increasing our danger of heart disease, said a spokesperson for Public Health England. We recommend choosing lower-fat ranges of milk and dairy products or feeing smaller amounts to reduce saturated fat and salt in the diet.

Givens and colleagues from Reading, Copenhagen University in Denmark and Wageningen University in the Netherlands analysed 29 analyzes involving 938,465 participants from around the world undertaken over the last 35 times, including five done in the UK.

No associations were found for total( high-fat/ low-fat) dairy and milk with the health outcomes of mortality, CHD or CVD, “theyre saying”. In fact, they added, fermented dairy products is likely to be slightly lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Doctors, public health experts and official healthy feeing guidelines have for many years identified saturated fats as potentially harmful for heart and cardiovascular health and advised consumers to minimise their intake.

That has led to customers increasingly buying lower-fat versions of dairy products. For example, 85% of all milk sold in the UK is now semi-skimmed or skimmed.

Givens said customers were shunning full-fat versions of cheese, milk or yoghurt in the mistaken view that they could harm their health. Young people, specially young lady, were now often boozing too little milk as a result of that concern, which could injury the development of their bones and lead to conditions in afterwards life including osteoporosis, or brittle bones, he said. Consuming too little milk can deprive young people of calcium.

Pregnant women who drank too little milk could be increasing the risk of their child having neuro-developmental difficulties, which could affect their cognitive abilities and stunt their growing, Givens added.

The most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the governments occasional snapshot of feeing habits, found that dairy products, including butter, been taken into consideration the largest proportion of saturated fat consumption in British diets 27%, compared against meats 24%. But if butter was not counted then dairy products together were the second largest source of saturated fat, at 22%.

Saturated fat is a vital part of diet. The NDNS found that adults typically got 34.6% of their total energy from fats as a whole, merely below the 35% the government recommends. Nonetheless, while total fat consumption was only within target, saturated fats still made up an unhealthily large proportion of total meat energy 12.6%, against the recommended maximum of 11 %.

Givens said: Our meta-analysis included an unusually large number of participants. We are confident that our results are robust and accurate.

The research was part-funded by the three pro-dairy groups Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia but they had no affect over it, the paper said. Givens is an adviser to the Food Standards Agency.

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