A new Australian study has revealed that adults who eat a diet rich in dairy products are up to 25% less likely to develop heart disease. Researchers have shown that other nutrients within dairy products have a protective effect on the heart and help it function normally.
The study indicated that people should stick to dairy products that contain fewer additives and are not sweetened or salted.
Co-lead author Dr Matty Marklund, from the George Institute for Global Health in Australia, said it was important to eat dairy products, which should be part of a healthy diet with an emphasis on choosing certain dairy products, for example, eating yogurt instead of butter or Avoid sweetened dairy products that are loaded with added sugar.
“Although the results may be influenced in part by factors other than dairy fat, the study does not indicate that there is no harm in dairy fat per se,” he added.
In the study – which was published today in the journal Plus Medicine The researchers examined the blood of 4,000 people in their 60s from Sweden and followed the study participants for 16 years, recording the number of cardiovascular problems and deaths that occurred.
The results were compared with 17 other similar studies involving 43,000 people from the United States, Denmark and the United Kingdom to confirm their findings.
The data showed that people who ate more dairy fats in their diet were 25% less likely to have heart problems than those who ate less dairy.
The study did not record the type of dairy products each participant was consuming.
For her part, Dr Cathy Trio, one of the study participants from the George Institute’s Global Health Branch in Australia, said it was important to eat only healthy dairy products.
“Increasing evidence suggests that the health impact of dairy may be more dependent on the type – such as cheese, yogurt and butter – rather than the fat content, which has raised doubts about whether avoiding dairy fats in general is good for cardiovascular health.”
Professor Ian Givens, a nutrition expert at Britain’s University of Reading who was not involved in the study, said its findings largely match those of previous research.
Givens told 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 assumed to increase the risk of coronary heart disease.”
The authors explained that there is increasing evidence that the health effects of dairy products depend on the type of food.
Several studies have indicated that there may be a link between consuming more dairy products and improving heart health.
But many dairy products have already earned a bad reputation due to their high levels of saturated fats, which have been linked to heart disease.
A British Heart Foundation spokesperson previously said: “Dairy products should be added to the diet to prevent cardiovascular disease but it is advised to choose low-fat dairy products.”