- Previous research has leaned the other way and linked dairy to cardiovascular problems.
- Latest Australian study shows nutrients inside dairy have protective effect
- Researchers followed 4,000 people over the age of 60 in Sweden for 16 years
One study shows that adults who consume a high dairy diet are up to 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease.
Previous research has generally leaned the other way and linked dairy to cardiovascular problems, as things like milk and cheese tend to be high in cholesterol and fat.
But the latest Australian study suggests that other nutrients inside dairy have a protective effect on the heart and help it function normally.
He added that people should stick to dairy products that contain fewer additives and are not sweet or salty.
Heart and circulatory diseases are behind about 160,000 deaths a year in the UK, while they are behind 655,000 deaths in the US.
But study experts claimed that the type of dairy product consumed, rather than the amount of fat, could be behind heart problems.
Co-lead author Dr Matty Marklund, from the George Institute for Global Health in Australia, said eating dairy is important.
‘While some dietary guidelines suggest consumers choose low-fat dairy products, others have shied away from that advice.
‘Instead, the suggestion of dairy can be part of a healthy diet with an emphasis on the selection of certain dairy foods – for example, yogurt instead of butter – or avoiding sweetened dairy products loaded with added sugar.’
What should a balanced diet look like?
According to the NHS, meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Foods based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, 2 biscuits of whole wheat cereal, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and a large baked potato with the skin
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks), choose low-fat and low-sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (2 portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in moderation
• Drink 6-8 cups/glass of water in a day
• Adults should have less than 6 grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat per day for women or 30 grams for men
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
He adds: ‘Although the findings may be partially influenced by factors other than dairy fat, our study does not suggest any harm of dairy fat.’
In the study – published today in the journal plus medicine Researchers tested the blood of 4,000 people over the age of 60 from Sweden.
They followed the participants for 16 years and recorded the number of cardiovascular events and deaths.
The results were compared to another 17 similar studies involving 43,000 people from the US, Denmark and the UK to confirm their findings.
The data shows that people who had more dairy fat in their diet were 25 percent less likely to suffer from heart problems than those who ate less dairy.
The study did not record what type of dairy product each participant was consuming.
Lead study author Dr Cathy Trieu, from the George Institute of Global Health Australia branch, said it was important to eat only healthy dairy foods.
She said: ‘Growing evidence suggests that the health effects of dairy foods may depend more on the type – such as cheese, yogurt, milk and butter – rather than the amount of fat, which has raised doubts whether dairy can protect against fat. is overall. Beneficial for heart health.
Professor Ian Givens, a food chain nutritionist from the University of Reading, who was not involved in the study, said its results broadly match those of previous papers.
He told the Science Media Center: ‘This study used fatty acid biomarkers to specifically target dairy fat because it is rich in saturated fatty acids that are generally believed to increase the risk of coronary heart disease. goes.
‘As the authors state, there is increasing evidence that the health effects of dairy foods depend on the type of food.
‘Perhaps the most evidence is available for hard cheese where multiple studies show that the physical and chemical food matrix reduces the amount of fat absorbed by the body leading to a moderate or zero increase in blood lipids which are CVD risk factors. ‘
Several studies have suggested that there may be a link between the consumption of more dairy products and better heart health.
Researchers point to the high nutrient content in dairy foods to explain this boost to the cardiovascular system.
They are a major source of vitamin B12, which is used to make red blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy.
They also contain potassium, which plays an important role in maintaining nerve and muscle health.
But many dairy products have already earned a bad name because of their high levels of saturated fats, which have been linked to heart disease.
A spokesman for the British Heart Foundation previously said: ‘Dairy products do not need to be cut out of the diet to prevent heart and circulatory diseases and are already part of the Eatwell guide, which is part of our healthy eating recommendations in the UK. is the basis of.’
He adds: ‘Currently, it is recommended that we choose low-fat dairy because our overall intake of saturated fat exceeds recommendations.’
Other studies have also suggested a link between increased consumption of dairy foods and better heart health.
Britain produces over 16 billion liters of milk every year, of which around 7 billion are consumed by consumers.