Dairy Consumption Linked to Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality

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A new study published in The Lancet reports that around 3 servings of whole fat dairy per day may lower the rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality, compared to less than 0.5 serving of whole fat dairy per day.

The finding of this study is inconsistent with the current dietary guidelines. The guidelines suggest that 2-4 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy per day and minimizing serving of whole-fat dairy may help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Mahshid Dehghan, lead author from McMaster University, Canada, says: “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.”

The study involved 136,384 participants aged 35-70 years old in 21 countries, and the researchers followed up participants for an average of 9.1 years. During the time, 5,855 participants developed major cardiovascular events and 6,796 died.

They set a standard dairy serving that was equivalent to a glass of milk at 244g, a cup of yoghurt at 244g, one slice of cheese at 15g, or a teaspoon of butter at 5g). And then, they divided these participants into four groups: 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).

They found that the high intake group had lower rates of total mortality, non-cardiovascular mortality, cardiovascular mortality, major cardiovascular disease, and stroke, when compared to the no intake group.

Among participants who consumed only whole-fat dairy, higher intake group bad lower rates of total mortality and major cardiovascular disease, when compared to those who consumed less than 0.5 servings whole-fat dairy per day.

Participants with higher intake of milk and yoghurt was associated with lower rates of the mortality and cardiovascular disease, when compared to those with no consumption.

In addition, they also pointed out that the highest dairy consumption was in North America and Europe, about 368g/day or above 4 servings of total dairy per day. The lowest was in south Asia, China, Africa and southeast Asia, about 147, 102, 91 and 37g/day respectively—less than 1 serving of total dairy per day.

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