New research says health guidelines for limiting dairy intake ‘should be relaxed’

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

With the exception of milk, which may increase the risk of CHD, dairy products have been found to protect against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes, according to research presented at the ESC Congress 2018. Pic: ©GettyImages/arto_canon
With the exception of milk, which may increase the risk of CHD, dairy products have been found to protect against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes, according to research presented at the ESC Congress 2018. Pic: ©GettyImages/arto_canon

Related tags: Milk, Cheese, Health claim, Health and wellness

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) says the widespread belief that consuming excess dairy, especially cheese and yogurt, leads to health problems has no consistent evidence to support it.

Health-conscious consumers have been known to eat less dairy in the name of low-fat diets. But new research refutes the idea that excess dairy is unhealthy.

“The consumption of dairy products has long been thought to increase the risk of death, particularly from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and cancer, because of dairy’s relatively high levels of saturated fat. Yet evidence for any such link, especially among US adults, is inconsistent,”​ the ESC said at the recent ESC Congress, held in Munich, Germany.

Leader of the study, Professor Maciej Banach of the Medical University of Lodz, Poland, said “A meta-analysis of 29 cohort studies published in 2017 found no association between the consumption of dairy products and either cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality.”

Researchers also examined data from a 1999–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) study, which surveyed 24,474 adults, and during the following up period of 76.4 months, 3,520 deaths were recorded.

The majority of the deaths were due to cancer, followed by cardiac and cerebrovascular, but the consumption of all dairy products was associated with a 2% lower total mortality risk from any other cause.

Skip the whole milk

Milk poses the most serious risk of all dairy products, and the researchers emphasized that “the drinking of non-fat or low-fat milk should be recommended, especially for those who consume large quantities of milk.”

Fermented products like yogurt and cheese do not need to be restricted as harshly, the congress heard.  The study concludes with a call to public health officials to “revise the guidelines on dairy consumption”​ to better educate the public.

Related topics: Science, Dairy

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