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Milk - It Doesn't Do A Heart Much Good

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I'm not sure if many people around here still do dairy, especially high fat dairy. But if you do, you might want to think again, and not just for the sake of the animals, but for the sake of your heart.


This new study [1] analyzed the data from over 200K people in the Health Care Professionals and Nurses Health Studies followed for 20-30 years. The good news? Dairy fat intake was associated with a slightly lower cardiovascular disease risk than other forms of animal fat. The bad news? Replacing 5% of energy from PUFA for 5% more dairy fat resulted in a 24% increase in your risk of cardiovascular disease. Replacing dairy with whole grains was even better (28% lower risk of CVD).


Here is a graph showing the estimated impact of substituting various other foods in place of dairy fat on risk of cardiovascular disease overall (A), as well as broken down by coronary heart disease (B) vs. stroke (C ):





The authors summarize as follows:


To our knowledge, this is the first large-scale prospective study to examine dairy fat intake and its replacement with other types of fat in relation to CVD risk...


These results support current recommendations to replace animal fats, including dairy fat, with vegetable sources of fats and polyunsaturated fat (both n–6 and n–3) in the prevention of CVD.


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, cheese lovers. Whom I kidding, no I'm not...





[1] Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Aug 24. pii: ajcn134460. [Epub ahead of print]

Dairy fat and risk of cardiovascular disease in 3 cohorts of US adults.
Chen M(1), Li Y(2), Sun Q(3), Pan A(4), Manson JE(5), Rexrode KM(5), Willett
WC(6), Rimm EB(6), Hu FB(7).
BACKGROUND: Few prospective studies have examined dairy fat in relation to
cardiovascular disease (CVD).
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to evaluate the association between dairy fat and incident
CVD in US adults.
DESIGN: We followed 43,652 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study
(1986-2010), 87,907 women in the Nurses' Health Study (1980-2012), and 90,675
women in the Nurses' Health Study II (1991-2011). Dairy fat and other fat intakes
were assessed every 4 y with the use of validated food-frequency questionnaires.
RESULTS: During 5,158,337 person-years of follow-up, we documented 14,815
incident CVD cases including 8974 coronary heart disease cases (nonfatal
myocardial infarction or fatal coronary disease) and 5841 stroke cases. In
multivariate analyses, compared with an equivalent amount of energy from
carbohydrates (excluding fruit and vegetables), dairy fat intake was not
significantly related to risk of total CVD (for a 5% increase in energy from
dairy fat, the RR was 1.02; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.05), coronary heart disease (RR:
1.03; 95% CI: 0.98, 1.09), or stroke (RR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.93, 1.05) (P > 0.05 for
all). In models in which we estimated the effects of exchanging different fat
sources, the replacement of 5% of energy intake from dairy fat with equivalent
energy intake from polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) or vegetable fat was
associated with 24% (RR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.71, 0.81) and 10% (RR: 0.90; 95% CI:
0.87, 0.93) lower risk of CVD, respectively, whereas the 5% energy intake
substitution of other animal fat with dairy fat was associated with 6% increased 
CVD risk (RR: 1.06; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.09).
CONCLUSIONS: The replacement of animal fats, including dairy fat, with vegetable 
sources of fats and PUFAs may reduce risk of CVD. Whether the food matrix may
modify the effect of dairy fat on health outcomes warrants further investigation.
© 2016 American Society for Nutrition.
DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.134460 
PMID: 27557656
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  • 1 month later...

Dean, I do eat dairy products (rigorously full fat) but I eschew crystallization of thoughts and habits and like my opinions and practices to be challenged in a constructive way.


My main reason not to quit eating yogurt and hi-quality cheese in moderation is that I'm not a big eater. My digestive power would not be enough presently to digest the most commonly advised source of plant-based proteins: legumes. Also, for the same reason I'm not able to eat huge volumes of vegetable food, summing up enough total proteins like you do, with good results.


I'm going to experiment digestive enzymes but I'm unwilling to use such supplementation on a daily basis. So I'm going to try and decrease my saturated fats rather than to eliminate them.


Dairy proteins are hi-quality, very easily digestible and a modest amount of food, sometimes very modest, is enough to contribute significantly to the daily total.


For example, Parmesan cheese has 33% digestible proteins in weight. 40 grams makes up 13 grams, which added to 20 grams supplied by a very digestible and quenching 500 grams of yogurt is 33 grams total proteins, more than half my daily target. Another benefit of the ingestion of dairy products is to be able to avoid B12 supplementation, which you may retort does not make up for an increased CVD hazard.


Individual tolerance and weight may also be factors decreasing risks.


Currently, there is also a school of thought challenging the traditional suggestions to avoid saturated fats like hell. Some of the proponents have solid credentials, like Eric Westman, Ron Rosedale and others. I cannot judge which philosophy is the more scientifically sound, since nutrition has become more of a philosophy or religion than a science. People take up a stance, build up biases and are no more able to apply scientific discrimination. We also know that there are economic interests involved.


Bottom line, very practically: I'm going to take minimal analyses by the finger-pricking method and see what those saturated fats are. If values turn out to be high range after 2 or 3 tests,  I'm going to accelerate the revision of my diet.

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This is an example of contradictory science. For every Esselstyn or Ornish, there are some other guys with solid credentials who affirm (supplying evidence) that saturated fat is all right. Who's telling the truth? Maybe the truth has many facets, due to individual variability and many other objective and subjective conditions.





Several recent systemic reviews show that high-fat diets produce greater weight loss than low-fat diets, when both groups in the trials are given equivalent support.

Most importantly, reducing fat intake did not lower rates of cardiovascular disease in two major clinical trials, Look Ahead and Women's Health Initiative, whereas increasing fat intake in thePredimed Mediterranean diet study did. Consistent with these findings, a study this year found that people consuming a high-fat diet had 16% lower rates of premature death than those consuming a low-fat diet (although the type of fats played a significant role in determining risk).
Responding to new evidence, the 2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines lifted the limit on dietary fat, unofficially ending the low-fat diet era. But you'd never know it, because a full accounting of this failed experiment has not been made. In the absence of this corrective process, public health harms persist, with the low-fat diet remaining deeply embedded in public consciousness and food policy. In fact, according to a recent Gallup survey, a majority of Americans still actively avoid eating fat.
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In relation to the article originally posted, it would be interesting to analyze the single FA molecules making saturated fats in dairy and vegetables.

This came to my mind watching the cronometer report fof today's intake of saturated fats.


Total 31 grams saturated fats:


9.4 g yogurt

7.5 g 85% chocolate

5.5 g EVOO

3.3 g parmesan cheese

2.2 g hazelnuts

1.9 g almonds

0.6 g kiwis

0.3 g brazil nuts


This means that over 50% of my intake of saturated fats has been from vegetable foods!!

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I'm careful not to drink milk simply because I like it too much and find it hard to avoid overindulgence.


I wonder how you guys forgot to cite the definitely upregulating signals sent to IGF-1 and mTOR by milk, via whey proteins. Unless amounts are really modest.

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