A recent research study, The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, has found that having regular dairy in your diet could help reduce the risk of heart disease.
The aim of the study was to assess the associations between total dairy and specific dairy product types with heart disease and mortality.
How the study was carried out-
To complete the study, the team studied findings from between January 1st 2003 to July 14th 2018. The recorded 10,567 composite events in total, of which 6,796 were deaths and 5,855 were major cardiovascular events during the 9.1 years of follow-up.
The study was carried out on participants aged from 35-70 years old, from 21 different countries across five continents. They recorded the dietary intakes of dairy products of some 136,384 individuals, using country-specific validated food frequency questionnaires, as reported in the Lancet.
Dairy products consisted of milk, cheeses and yoghurts and were grouped into either whole-fat or low-fat dairy. The main aim was the composite of mortality or any major cardiovascular events. Hazard ratios were then calculated, using multivariable Cox frailty models. Participants were then grouped into four different categories: no dairy, less than one serving per day, 1-2 servings per day, and more than two servings per day.
The study found that a higher intake of dairy, more than two servings per day, compare to zero meant lower rates of heart disease and mortality.
The results found that the higher dairy intake group, who has an average of 3.2 servings per day, had lower rates of major heart disease and strokes, lower rates of total mortality and lower rates of non-cardiovascular disease. They also found that there was little to no difference between the rate of heart attacks between groups.
To conclude, the study found that there was no link between fats found in dairy products and the cause of death, specifically heart-related deaths such as heart attacks and strokes.
Although the study found that “Dairy consumption was associated with lower risk of mortality and major cardiovascular disease events” there were some warnings issued to readers.
‘The results from the PURE study seem to suggest that dairy intake, especially whole-fat dairy, might be beneficial for preventing deaths and major cardiovascular diseases.” Said Associate Professor Anna Rangan, of Sydney University in Australia of the study.
“However, as the authors themselves concluded, the results only suggest the ‘consumption of dairy products should not be discouraged and perhaps even be encouraged in low-income and middle-income countries…It is not the ultimate seal of approval for recommending whole-fat dairy over its low-fat or skimmed counterparts.” She warned.
She urged the public to treat this no differently than any other piece of literature.
‘Readers should be cautious, and treat this study only as yet another piece of the evidence – albeit a large one – in the literature.’ She urged.
Lead author of the study, Dr Mahshid Dehghan of McMaster University in Canada, also spoke of the study’s findings.
‘Our findings support that consumption of dairy products might be beneficial for mortality and cardiovascular disease, especially in low-income and middle-income countries where dairy consumption is much lower than in North America or Europe.’ He said.