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Full Fat Dairy May Not Contribute to Cardiovascular Disease After All

It is a common belief that eating full fat dairy may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially heart disease and stroke. However, a recent study suggests that not only will full-fat dairy not lead to heart disease and stroke, it may actually help protect against severe stroke.


Participants in the study included almost 3,000 adults age 65 and older. The researchers measured plasma levels of different fatty acids found in dairy products starting in 1992. They measured them again 6 and 13 years later.


The researchers also kept track of all deaths and cardiovascular events during the 22 years of follow-up. During that time, 2,428 deaths occurred, including 833 from cardiovascular disease, and 1,595 from non-cardiovascular disease causes. In addition, there were 1,301 incident cardiovascular disease events.


After examining the data, the researchers found that none of the fatty acids were associated with total mortality. They also found that the people with higher fatty acid levels — and in particular one fatty acid that’s found in full fat dairy products — had a 42% lower risk of dying from stroke than people with lower levels.


Researchers from the Houston School of Public Health led the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 11, 2018, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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