A review of 29 health studies involving more than a million patients says dairy fat doesn’t increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
These findings challenge the widely held belief that dairy products can damage health. In fact the analysis found that even full-fat versions of dairy favourites like cheese, yogurt and sour cream didn’t impact health negatively and had a neutral effect 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 heart attack and stroke. The findings were recently published in European Journal of Epidemiology.
Ian Givens, a professor at the U.K.’s Reading University, said the relatively recent idea milk fat is harmful is in error.
“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,” Givens said. “While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong.”
Medical authorities and other health and nutrition experts have for years advised saturated fats are potentially harmful and told consumers to minimize their consumption.
It’s led to a trend where consumers purchase lower-fat versions and several unintended consequences including too many forgoing dairy entirely. The research team noted that could damage bone development in children, lead to osteoporosis later in life and a shortfall of calcium in diets.
Official reaction to the study in the U.K. has been cautious, with dietary experts conceding dairy products are important, but sticking with the recommendation to consume lower-fat versions.