Cardiovascular health

Is increased dairy food consumption associated with improved cardiovascular health?

yogurt - fat - heart disease

According to a new study, higher intakes of whole fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are associated with improved cardiovascular health.

The idea that all saturated fatty acids, which are abundant in dairy products in particular, increase cholesterol is obsolete and needs to be updated with regard to new findings. However in particular data from epidemiology does not support the thesis of a negative effect with respect to dairy products on cardiovascular risks.

On the contrary the effect seems to be neutral with regard to the reduction and the incidence of cardiovascular incidences. Elsewhere, few studies have examined dairy food intake in relation to cardiovascular health and the link between lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity. This study examined whether dairy food consumption was associated with cardiovascular health, recently defined by the American Heart Association (AHA), as the absence of disease and the presence of seven key health factors and behaviours called “Life’s Simple 7.”

In this new study, researchers analysed data from 1352 participants in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in the Luxembourg survey. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to measure intakes of milk, yogurt, cheese, dairy desserts, ice cream, and butter. A total cardiovascular health score (CHS) was determined by adding together the total number of health metrics at ideal levels based on the Life’s Simple 7 as defined by the AHA.

Total dairy food intake was positively associated with the CHS. Higher intakes of whole fat milk, yogurt, and cheese were associated with improved cardiovascular health. Even when controlling for demographic and dietary variables, those who consumed at least 5 servings per week of these dairy products had a significantly higher CHS than those who consumed these products less frequently.

Source: NUTRITION RESEARCH, 34 (12):1036-1044; 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.04.002 DEC 2014

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