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Full fat dairy may not be linked to heart disease

26th May 2017

Previously health experts warned us to go easy on cheese due to its high-fat content, which was thought to lead to heart disease. However, a recent study has reported no link between eating dairy products and an increased risk of heart disease or strokes. Dairy produce tends to be high in saturated fat, so as part of a healthy diet the general advice was that people should limit or avoid their intake of full-fat cheeses, yoghurt and milk. This advice is now being reassessed following an extensive review of date from previous studies, as no evidence was found to suggest an overall link between consumption of dairy produce and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which is good news for cheese lovers.

The study was carried out by researchers from Reading University, University of Copenhagen and the Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands. The researchers assessed data from previous studies spanning the last 35 years, reviewing data from nearly 1 million people from around the world. The results from the data analysis demonstrated no increased risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease or all-cause death from eating dairy products.

Dairy products are often high in saturated fat, and due to this high-fat content people were advised not to consume too much as it could lead to higher cholesterol levels increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This advice is now called into question by the new study.  Whilst dairy products can be high in fats, and therefore calories, they are also high in calcium (which helps strengthen bones), a good source of protein and can form part of a balanced diet. So it would seem if you like a bit of cheese or full-fat milk in your tea then go ahead, but be mindful it can also be quite calorific so best not to over indulge.

Rachel Kayani

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