Full-Fat Dairy Foods May Be Healthier Than Low-Fat Alternatives After All

In Industry News by Raina Dhillon

Are you a fan of full-fat dairy products, but try to limit the amount you eat because of the perceived negative health implications that are associated with them? If you are, we’ve got some good news for you.

Boldly challenging the popular belief that whole-fat dairy products raise bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, a new study has found quite the opposite. Not only does it suggest that full-fat dairy products have no impact on cardiovascular health, but they could actually reduce a person’s risk of stroke and heart disease.

The findings of the team from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, MA are in direct contrast to the advice and guidance issued by many government organisations, including both the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Both of these bodies specifically warn people against eating too much whole-fat dairy because of the impact it has on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. And while it’s generally accepted that high levels of LDL cholesterol may, in time, cause cardiovascular conditions such as coronary heart disease, the study literally found the opposite.

Indeed, while 883 of the 2,900 U.S. seniors aged 65 and above who participated in the study died of heart disease during the 22-year follow-up period, none of the three fatty acids associated with full-fat dairy products correlated with the risk of total mortality. In fact, high circulating levels of heptadecanoic fatty acid (the type found in full-fat dairy products) were actually found to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, individuals with higher levels of fatty acids overall were 42% less likely to die from stroke.

Dietary Guidelines Should Be Changed Going Forward

Speaking about the findings of the study, Marcia de Oliveira Otto, assistant professor of epidemiology, human genetics and environmental science at the University of Texas School of Public Health and lead author of the study, said widely accepted guidelines regarding the consumption of whole-fat dairy products should be revised going forward.

“Our results highlight the need to revisit current dietary guidance on whole fat dairy foods, which are rich sources of nutrients such as calcium and potassium,” she said.

The findings of the study were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study is the latest in a string of research that suggests fat is not the dietary health villain it’s always been portrayed to be. In the future, we could see sugar and simple carbs replace fat as the dietary bad guys. Cheese lovers can rejoice!

A new study boldly claims that whole-fat dairy does not necessarily raise cardiovascular risk. Conversely, some of the fats present in certain dairy products may even help to keep stroke and heart disease at bay. Good news for lovers of full-fat dairy products.

I have over 15 years client facing experience in the Employee Benefits industry having worked for Mercer HR Consulting and The Willis Group in London. Bringing my expertise to mid and large corporate clients, I joined Premier Choice Healthcare in December 2015, with the aim of advising and developing a varied Corporate client portfolio.