Higher dairy fat intake lowers cardiovascular risk: Study

Higher dairy fat intake
Higher dairy fat intake

According to this research (conducted among the world’s largest consumers of dairy foods), those with higher dairy fat intakes, as indicated by fatty acid levels in the blood, had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those with low intakes.

The study’s findings have been published in the journal ‘PLOS Medicine.’ Increased dairy fat consumption was not connected with an increased risk of death.

The researchers combined the findings from this study of slightly more than 4,000 Swedish adults with those from 17 comparable studies conducted in other countries to create the most comprehensive evidence to date on the relationship between this more objective measure of dairy fat consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death.

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Dr Matti Marklund of The George Institute for Global Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Uppsala University stated that with global dairy consumption increasing, a greater understanding of the health consequences is necessary.

“Numerous studies have relied on participants recalling and recording the amounts and types of dairy meals they consumed, which is particularly difficult given the widespread usage of dairy in a range of foods,” Dr Marklund explained.

“Rather than that, we examined blood levels of certain fatty acids, or fat ‘building blocks,’ prevalent in dairy foods, which provides a more objective assessment of dairy fat intake that is not dependent on memory or the quality of food databases,” Dr Marklund explained.

“We discovered that those with the greatest levels had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. These associations are quite intriguing, but additional research is necessary to fully understand the health effects of dairy fats and dairy diets “Dr Marklund elaborated.

Sweden has one of the highest dairy and dairy product consumption rates in the world.

A multinational collaboration of researchers from Sweden, the United States of America, and Australia assessed dairy fat consumption in 4150 Swedish 60-year-olds by measuring blood levels of a particular fatty acid that is predominantly found in dairy foods and thus can be used to estimate dairy fat intake.

They were subsequently tracked for an average of 16 years to determine how many suffered heart attacks, strokes, and other significant circulatory events, as well as how many died from any reason.

After statistical adjustment for other known CVD risk variables such as age, income, lifestyle, dietary habits, and other conditions, those with high fatty acid levels had the lowest CVD risk (reflecting high intake of dairy fats).

The highest-risk groups did not have an elevated risk of mortality from any cause.

Dr Marklund said that the findings underscore the evidence’s uncertainty in this area, which is reflected in dietary recommendations.

“While some dietary guidelines continue to recommend consumers choose low-fat dairy products, others have shifted away from that recommendation, emphasising the importance of selecting specific dairy foods — for example, yoghurt rather than butter — or avoiding sweetened dairy products that are high in added sugar,” Dr Marklund said.

Combining these findings with those from 17 additional research including nearly 43,000 persons from the United States, Denmark, and the United Kingdom validated these patterns in different populations.

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“While our findings may be impacted in part by factors other than dairy fat, our study does not indicate that dairy fat is harmful in and of itself,” Dr Marklund noted.

Dr Kathy Trieu of The George Institute for Global Health, the study’s lead author, stated that consumption of certain dairy items, particularly fermented goods, has previously been related with cardiovascular benefits.

“Increasing research suggests that the health benefits of dairy foods — such as cheese, yoghurt, milk, and butter — may be more dependent on the type than on the fat amount, raising questions about whether avoiding dairy fats in general is good for cardiovascular health,” Dr Trieu added.

“Our study indicates that reducing dairy fat or eliminating dairy entirely may not be the greatest option for heart health,” Dr Trieu noted.

“It is critical to remember that while dairy products may be high in saturated fat, they also include a variety of other nutrients and can be included in a healthy diet. However, some fats, such as those found in seafood, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils, may be more beneficial to your health than dairy fats “Dr Trieu came to a conclusion.

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