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Why whole Milk and Yogurt are Healthier Than You Think

    Abdulaziz Sobh
    By Abdulaziz Sobh

    Categories: Health


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    For years, experts have recommended low-fat dairy products instead of full-fat versions, which are higher in calories and contain more saturated fat. Recent research, however, indicates that whole milk products may be healthier than their reputation suggests and that people who eat whole milk products are not more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes than people who consume dairy products. low in fat. They may even be less likely to gain weight.

    Now, new research published on Tuesday in The Lancet adds to that set of tests.

    Research suggests that eating dairy products of all kinds is associated with a lower risk of premature death, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. "About three servings of dairy a day is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality," says study co-author Mahshid Dehghan, a researcher in nutritional epidemiology at the Population Health Research Institute in Canada. "We are suggesting that dairy products are healthy and people should be encouraged to consume dairy products."

    Dietary guidelines for Americans also recommend consuming approximately three servings of dairy products per day but specify that these foods must be fat-free or low-fat. The new research, however, suggests that full-fat dairy can also be part of a healthy diet. While there was stronger data for milk and yogurt consumption than butter and cheese, dairy consumers in the study consumed more fat than low-fat products, suggesting that these results apply particularly to dairy products. whole.

    The observational study was based on data from approximately 136,000 adults who participated in the prospective urban rural epidemiology study (PURE), which gathered information on diet and health of people in 21 countries on five continents. (The United States was not among them, but Canada was). None of the people included in the study had a history of cardiovascular disease, and they all completed a detailed dietary survey, which included questions about the type and frequency of dairy intake. During approximately nine years of follow-up, approximately 10,500 people died or had a major cardiovascular problem, such as a heart attack or stroke.

    Dairy consumption, the researchers found, was associated with a lower risk of both outcomes. Compared with people who did not eat dairy, those who consumed more than two servings per day had lower total mortality rates (3.4% versus 5.6%) and cardiovascular mortality rates (0.9% versus 1, 6%). They also had lower rates of major cardiovascular disease (3.5% versus 4.9%) and stroke (1.2% versus 2.9%).

    And among people who ate only whole milk, those who consumed about three servings per day had lower death rates than people who ate less than 0.5 servings per day (3.3% versus 4.4%).

    That finding suggests that slandering the whole dairy exclusively because of its higher saturated fat content, although many studies linking saturated fat to heart disease may not capture the full picture, says Dehghan.

    "Focusing on low fat is predominantly based on the assumption that saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol," she says. "But dairy contains many other components [that can be healthy] amino acids, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, they can ferment and have probiotics, we should not focus on just one nutrient." And the rest of the diet also matters; Eating dairy products is probably better than refined carbohydrates, according to recent research.

    The new research has several limitations. The study participants only completed a diet survey at the beginning of the research period, so the results did not reflect changes in eating patterns over time. The nine-year follow-up period was also relatively short, in terms of measuring long-term health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease. And observational studies can never prove cause and effect, they only point to patterns and associations.

    In addition, although the patterns were consistent in all regions, many of the countries in the PURE study have low or medium income. Residents of these nations tend to eat less dairy than people in rich countries, which may mean that they will benefit more from increased consumption than people in the US. UU And other developed areas. There was also not much information for people who consumed more than three servings of dairy products per day, which means that it was not possible to determine how excessive consumption affects health.

    Pharmaceutical companies such as Boehringer Ingelheim and GlaxoSmithKline also helped finance the research, although they did not participate in the design or production of the study. GlaxoSmithKline manufactures Horlicks, a milk-based nutritional beverage, while Boehringer Ingelheim's animal health division manufactures drugs for dairy cows.

    An accompanying editorial was written by Jimmy Chun Yu Louie of the University of Hong Kong, and Anna Rangan of the University of Sydney, both linked to Dairy Australia, says the study should not be treated as "the ultimate seal of approval" . to recommend whole-fat dairy products on low-fat or low-fat equivalents. Readers should be cautious and should treat this study only as another (though large) test in the literature. "

    Dehghan takes a similar approach to the results, adding that the study is important in part because it extends nutritional research beyond its traditionally American and European epicenters.

    "We are suggesting that dairy products should not be discouraged and perhaps even should be encouraged, especially in low and middle-income countries where milk consumption is low, or among people who consume very low amounts of dairy products," he says.