This could be the final nail in the coffin of the low-fat diet…
For decades, doctors told us to reduce fat in our diets to lose weight and prevent heart disease. Dairy such as butter, cheese, and whole milk were considered particularly harmful.
Two new research papers add to the growing evidence that this advice is complete bunk.
One major new study finds that eating dairy of all kinds—whether low or high in fat—is associated with lower rates of heart disease, stroke, and death from any cause.
The second study shows that eating fermented dairy like cheese and yogurt greatly cuts heart attack risk.
Researchers at McMaster University’s Population Health Research Institute looked at data from over 136,000 people in 21 countries. The subjects were 35 to 70 years old. At the start of the study, they provided information about their diets. They were then followed for an average of nine years.1
Among those who ate no dairy, 5.6% died. But only 3.4% died among those who had three servings of dairy a day.
People who ate dairy had half the chance of dying of heart problems as those who ate no dairy.
Dairy lovers also had far lower rates of heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Mahshid Dehghan was the lead researcher. She concluded that “up to three servings of dairy per day lowers risk of death and cardiovascular disease, regardless of fat.”
Dr. Dehghan noted that some people don’t eat dairy because they want to avoid saturated fat. This is a big mistake.
“Dairy products contain a range of potentially beneficial compounds,” she said. “We are suggesting the net effect of dairy intake on health outcome is more important than looking solely at one single nutrient.”2
Dr. Dehghan points to the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that dairy provides. These include:
- Substantial amounts of protein.
- Important minerals including potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
- Vitamins including A, B12, and D.
The second study explored links between heart disease and fermented dairy products. It’s part of ongoing research at the University of Eastern Finland.3
Cheese, yogurt, and sour cream are examples of fermented dairy.
Scientists followed 2,000 subjects for 20 years. All were men.
Men with the highest consumption of fermented dairy had a 26% lower risk of heart disease.
Don’t Avoid Dairy, Whether Low or High Fat
The bottom line is this: You’re not doing your health any favors by keeping away from dairy. You’re missing out on important nutrients. And losing the crucial heart protection these foods provide.
Regardless of fat content, you should make items such as these a regular part of your diet:
- Yogurt (without added sugar)
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Kefir (A beverage that has probiotic content similar to yogurt.)
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