Full-fat dairy products such as cheese, milk or yogurt may not be the healthiest foods in the world, but a new study claims that they might not be as bad as people think. Eating these items doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of a stroke or a heart attack, according to European researchers.
For the study, experts from England, Denmark and the Netherlands did an in-depth analysis of 29 previous studies that looked at the association between dairy products and the risk of heart problems, CBS News reports. Their findings conclude that cheese, milk and yogurt have a “neutral” effect on cardiovascular disease risks.
The report states, “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.”
Ian Givens, one of the study authors, says,
There’s quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that’s a misconception.
He adds, “While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong. There’s been a lot of publicity over the last five to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a belief has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they don’t.”
However, government agencies still suggest watching dairy consumption, for health purposes. “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. We recommend choosing lower-fat varieties of milk and dairy products or eating smaller amounts to reduce saturated fat and salt in the diet.”
The researchers say that they stand by their findings. “Our meta-analysis included an unusually large number of participants. We are confident that our results are robust and accurate,” Givens says.
The study was published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.