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Whole-fat dairy provides protection from cardiovascular disease and mortality : Lancet

Whole-fat dairy provides protection from cardiovascular disease and mortality : Lancet

Dr. Mahshid Dehghan, at McMaster University, Canada and colleagues conducted a new global observational study of over 130,000 people in 21 countries and found  that Whole-fat Dairy consumption provides protection from cardiovascular disease and mortality .

According to study, dairy consumption of around three servings per day is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality, compared to lower levels of consumption. In addition to this people who consumed three servings of whole fat dairy per day had lower rates of mortality and cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed less than 0.5 serving of whole fat dairy per day. The study has appeared in The Lancet.

One standard serving of dairy was equivalent to a glass of milk at 244g, a cup of yogurt at 244g, one slice of cheese at 15g, or a teaspoon of butter at 5g.

“Our findings support that consumption of dairy products might be beneficial for mortality and cardiovascular disease, especially in low-income and middle-income countries where dairy consumption is much lower than in North America or Europe,” says lead author Dr. Mahshid Dehghan, McMaster University, Canada.

The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study included data from 136,384 individuals aged 35-70 years in 21 countries [1]. Dietary intakes were recorded at the start of the study using country-specific validated food questionnaires. Participants were followed up for an average of 9.1 years. During this time, there were 6,796 deaths and 5,855 major cardiovascular events.

Participants were grouped into four categories: no dairy (28,674 people), less than 1 serving per day (55,651), 1-2 servings per day (24,423), and over 2 servings per day (27,636).

Read Also: Dairy products rich in saturated fat do not increase risk of heart disease : Study

Key study findings:

  • 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%).
  • There was no difference in the rates of myocardial infarction between the two groups (1.9% vs 1.6%).
  • 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.
  • Higher intake of milk and yogurt (above 1 serving per day) was associated with lower rates of the composite outcome, which combines total mortality and cardiovascular disease (milk: 6.2% vs 8.7%; yogurt: 6.5% vs 8.4%), compared to no consumption. The differences in the composite outcome for butter and cheese were not significant as intake was lower than for milk and yogurt.

According to the authors, evidence suggests that some saturated fats may be beneficial to cardiovascular health, and dairy products may also contain other potentially beneficial compounds, including specific amino acids, unsaturated fats, vitamin K1, and K2, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and potentially probiotics. The effect of dairy on cardiovascular health should, therefore, consider the net effect on health outcomes of all these elements.

“The results from the PURE study seem to suggest that dairy intake, especially whole-fat dairy, might be beneficial for preventing deaths and major cardiovascular diseases. However, the results only suggest the “consumption of dairy products should not be discouraged and perhaps even be encouraged in low-income and middle-income countries, ”write the authors.

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Source: With inputs from the journal The Lancet

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