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Full-Fat dairy regains health status
August 5, 2018, 12:31 pm
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A new study could overturn the long-held belief that full-fat dairy products are not beneficial to good health. Since the 1940s, doctors, nutrition experts, and researchers have promoted a low-fat diet as a healthy way to avoid cardiovascular disease–related deaths. Heart disease and stroke have long been assumed to be a result of a diet high in saturated fat.

In response to these recommendations, food manufacturers around the world have been pumping out low-fat, light, fat-free, and skim dairy products to supplant the full-fat versions. But now, researchers at the University of Texas in the US say that their extensive studies over a period of 22-years have shown no significant link between dairy fats — the saturated fats found in milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt — and cause of death. More specifically, they did not find a link between these fats and heart disease and stroke.

The new research adds to a growing body of evidence that flips the fat discussion. Indeed, the study suggests that the much-maligned fats may in fact help protect people against these health conditions, not increase their risks.

For the 22-year study, researchers evaluated biomarkers of dairy-related fatty acids in blood samples of more than 2,900 adults ages 65 and older. The amount of three specific dairy-related fatty acids in blood plasma were taken at the study’s initiation in 1992, and then 6 and 13 years later. During the study period, 2,428 people died of which 833 were from heart disease.

The study found that participants who had high circulating levels of dairy-related fatty acids were less likely to die from heart disease than people with lower levels. Moreover, people with the highest circulating levels of one particular fatty acid — heptadecanoic — were 42 percent less likely to die from stroke. This fatty acid, the researchers suggests, may have protective benefits against stroke.

This is not the first study to suggest that fat fears are unfounded. In fact, several studies have cast doubt on the relationship between heart health and limiting your intake of saturated fats. However, much of this research was conducted with the less-dependable self-reporting technique. The new study relied on biomarkers in blood, which is a more reliable indicator of fatty acid intake.

Natural milk from cows have a balanced proportion of fat, protein and natural sugar. When attempts are made to micro-manage the natural composition of milk by decreasing fat, we are inadvertently increasing the sugar by volume while also shifting the balance of nutrients which are advantageous to digestion and absorption.

While whole-fat dairy products do contain saturated fats in the form of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), they are also rich in other nutrients that provide plenty of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), also called good cholesterol that offsets the negative effects of LDL.

However, the researchers warn that you should not take the results from their study as a license to go overboard and indulge in unlimited amount of high fat ice creams and other dairy products and dump the low-fat dairy advice.

 

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