Goodness knows that I have a soft spot for chocolate milkshakes. So when I saw this article come across my inbox, I had to read it and share my thoughts!

What should i drink?

Full fat, low fat, reduced fat, skim or semi-skim .. have i missed any?

This seems to be continuously appearing in magazine headlines.  Historically, it is thought consuming full fat dairy products would increase your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), due to containing high levels of saturated fat.

But interestingly, a new 2018 study published By Otto and co, suggested evidence that could shed light onto whether consuming full cream milk actually increases risk of CVD.

Here is a quick recap of the study:

Why is the study important:

  • In 2008-09, stoke based health care cost the Australian economy $606 million, and whilst the rate of stroke events have fallen by 25% from 1997-2005, it still accounts for 6% of all deaths in Australia.
  • Even though it is recommended that we should opt for low fat dairy products, there is little evidence to suggest full fat dairy consumption is a risk factor for CVD as well as diabetes, weight gain and cancer.
  • Designed to investigate risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke in older adults, aged >65 years

Details about the study (what did they do):

  • This study was based in the United States.
  • The average age of participants was 74 years.
  • 64% were female.
  • The study began to recruit people in 1989, and additional people were included in the study in 1992.
  • Participants were regularly given a health checks and bloods were taken.
  • The study lasted 22 years.

What did they find:

  •  There are no associations between long-term fully fat diary consumption and CVD risk in older adults.

What does this mean for me?

This is really interesting research because it challenges our current understanding about full fat dairy and whether the saturated fat in dairy impacts health differently to the saturated fat, found in other foods say, processed foods.

But like always in nutrition, you need to translate this new research in the context of your own diet.  If you have a diet that is high in fat, then maybe opting for reduced fat dairy may benefit you by lowering your caloric load.  Alternatively, if your diet contains relatively low-moderate fat intake, then opting for full fat dairy in your coffee, may not be the biggest deal.  Or, if you’re not quite sure how high or low your diet is in fat, seeking professional dietetic help and support to find this out, will be helpful 😊. 

I definitely will be keeping my ears and eyes open for more research within this space!

If you want to read the study in greater details, here is the citation: Marcia C de Oliveira Otto, Rozenn N Lemaitre, Xiaoling Song, Irena B King, David S Siscovick, Dariush Mozaffarian; Serial measures of circulating biomarkers of dairy fat and total and cause-specific mortality in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

If you want to read more about how stroke impacts Australian’s, you can read the full report by the: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2013. Stroke and its management in Australia: an update. Cardiovascular disease series no. 37. Cat. no. CVD 61. Canberra: AIHW.

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