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Health professionals and nutritionists have been telling people for decades that full-fat milk and cheese (as well as other dairy products such as yogurt) are bad for the heart. They were sure that the saturated fat in such products would clog coronary arteries. Many people listened to their warnings and started drinking skim milk and eating low-fat yogurt and cheese instead.

How Do Full-Fat Milk and Cheese Affect the Risk of Heart Disease?

A new meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Epidemiology suggests, however, that the advice to avoid full-fat milk and cheese may have been misguided. The authors analyzed data from 29 studies over the last 25 years. Nearly one million subjects participated in these trials.

No Link Between Full-Fat Dairy Products and Death from Heart Disease:

The investigators could find no link between the consumption of milk or dairy products and heart disease or death. It didn’t matter whether people consumed high- or low-fat dairy products. There was no increase in mortality.

The investigators even detected a slight trend towards a lower risk of heart attacks or strokes among people who consumed fermented dairy products such as kefir, yogurt, sour cream and cheese. Perhaps admonitions to avoid dairy products high in saturated fat will need to be reconsidered.

Guo et al, European Journal of Epidemiology, Apr., 2017

This is not the first study to show that people who eat butter, cheese or other full-fat dairy products live just as long as those who go the low-fat route. Research published in 2016 under the title “Is Butter Back?” showed no link between butter consumption and heart disease.

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  1. William F. Wallace

    I am so glad I can go back to my organic, whole fat milk! It actually has a taste.

  2. Phil
    Northern Virginia

    I’ve been exercising with a trainer for a 18 years. Initially, I lost about 15 pounds from 185 over about 6 months. I certainly felt much better and had more energy. I had also went to low-fat milk and margarine and didn’t lose any more weight but did lose bulk. After about a year and a half I decided to go back to regular full fat milk and began using real butter. Within two weeks I dropped to 165 pounds, and through the following months gradually dropped to 160 pounds and now varying between 155 and 160. About a year ago I decided to forego eating mammal (Red) Meat. We will see what actually happens in the long run. I’m in my 79th year and doing pretty good and still on the weight lifting circuit.

  3. Bob

    Certainly there is a warning that NSAIDs are not to be taken by those over 45. Those with chronic pain are left with opioids….bad.
    Now is there a problem with using the new Lidocain ointment or patches as a topical where it works so well?

  4. Chris Nielsen
    Minneapolis, MN

    I think these studies need to consider and publish information about the full spectrum of participants diets. Did wine consumption play a part? I assume that different types of diets were randomly dispersed, but who knows? And how many of the 29 studies were sponsored by the dairy industry? I just don’t like trusting studies without having all the information.

  5. Tina

    I am wondering who sponsored these studies?

  6. John
    Croydon, PA

    In nature, the intended recipients for cow’s milk are calves. If whole fat cow’s milk is either good or bad for adult humans, it is just luck. Perhaps having a high level of fat in milk or in the diet in general is helpful for some of us, but the distinction between high fat and high saturated fat are confounded in the research. I choose to use nonfat or low fat dairy, and add plant based fat to it. One benefit of doing this is that I avoid most of the cow hormones.

  7. Mary Jane

    This is not the first time that blanket condemnations have proven themselves to be false. Given that each body is unique, such general statements about “good for you,” or “bad for you,” are silly.

  8. Brooke

    Dr Sinatra (a cardiologist) has been preaching this for some time along with removing the bad rap of all saturated fats. He says sugar is the real enemy here.

  9. Peggy

    Were most, if not all, of these studies backed by the dairy industry? You have to dig deep on each study to answer this question.

    Meanwhile the Nutrition dept ofCornell University does not support this claim at all. Go to their website and see for yourself

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