Dairy consumption may not lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Lancet study surveyed participants from 21 countries on five continents. Pic: ©GettyImages/fcafotodigital
The Lancet study surveyed participants from 21 countries on five continents. Pic: ©GettyImages/fcafotodigital

Related tags: Milk, Cardiovascular disease, Cheese, Yoghurt

A new study questions the notion that excessive dairy consumption leads to high risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease. It surveyed a more diverse range of subjects than previous studies on the topic.

Medical journal The Lancet released its findings on September 11 that “dairy consumption was associated with lower risk of mortality and major cardiovascular disease events in a diverse multinational cohort.”

In the study they explain that general dietary guidelines recommend minimizing intake of whole-fat dairy because it adversely affects blood lipids. However, there isn’t a lot of evidence to support these claims, and what does exist comes from mostly homogenous groups.

In the Lancet study, they followed 136,384 individuals from 21 different countries, aged 35-70 years old. They recorded their dairy product intake between 2003 and 2018. Milk, yogurt and cheese products were categorized by whole-fat and low-fat.

Three daily servings

“A variety of dairy food components, such as calcium, bioactive proteins, milk fatty acids, and the whole dairy food matrix, have been proposed as being protective against cardiovascular disease but mechanistic pathways are yet to be elucidated,”​ The Lancet said.

During the recorded time, 6,796 deaths and 5,855 major cardiovascular events were recorded. A higher intake of total dairy--three servings per day--was associated with a lower risk of death and there was no significant association with heart attacks.

More specifically, milk and yogurt directly correlated to a lower risk of mortality while cheese didn’t have a recorded effect on the results. The dairy intake was self-reported by the individuals through a questionnaire.

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