Consuming cheese, milk and yogurt – even full-fat versions – does not increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to research that challenges the widely held belief that dairy products can damage health.
The findings, from an international team of experts, contradict the view that dairy products can be harmful because of their high saturated fat content. The experts dismiss that fear as “a misconception [and] mistaken belief”.
The results come from a new meta-analysis of 29 previous studies of whether dairy products increase the risk of death from any cause and from either serious heart problems or cardiovascular disease.
The study concluded that such foodstuffs did not raise the risk of any of those events and had a “neutral” impact on human health.
“This meta-analysis showed there were no associations between total dairy, high- and low-fat dairy, milk and the health outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease,” says the report, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.
Dairy products form an important part of a healthy balanced diet; however, many are high in saturated fat and salt. We’re all consuming too much of both, increasing our risk of heart disease,” said a spokesman for Public Health England.
“We recommend choosing lower-fat varieties of milk and dairy products or eating smaller amounts to reduce saturated fat and salt in the diet.”