Confirmation the consumption of milk, cheese and yoghurt has no link to increased risk of heart attack or stroke has come as welcome news to dairy farmers.
The Dairy Council has long led the fight to reverse the widely-believed diet-led trend that dairy produce is damaging to human health because of its saturated fat content.
The study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, was based on a meta-analysis of 29 cohort studies and 35 years of research. It concluded dairy had a ‘neutral or protective’ association on long-term heart health and was not linked to coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.
“Dairy is more complex than just saturated fat, and this is an important lesson.”
- Dr Anne Mullen
It came only weeks after nutrition experts confirmed daily intake of cow’s milk – including full fat variety’s – had no negative correlation to childhood or adolescent obesity but in most cases actually aided weight loss.
Dr Anne Mullen, director of nutrition at the Dairy Council said consumers were often forced to make a ‘misunderstood assumption’.
She said: “Dairy is more complex than just saturated fat, and this is an important lesson.
“Milk and dairy foods are often misunderstood in regard to heart disease and type-2 diabetes, and are frequently targeted in saturated fat reduction initiatives.
“Consumers have become more concerned about saturated fat and as it is found in milk and dairy foods, it is often assumed dairy plays a role in the possibility of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
“Recent debates on saturated fat do a disservice to the nutritional quality of foods such as milk and dairy. There have been a number of large studies in recent years that have shown that the consumption of milk and dairy over many years has either no effect or a beneficial effect on heart health and also type 2 diabetes.”