Full-Fat Dairy Protects Against Heart Disease and Boosts Longevity, New International Study Finds

People who consume lots of whole-fat dairy live longer and have lower rates of heart disease than those who consume skim milk or no milk.

People who consumed 3 servings of full-fat dairy per day had lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality than those who consumed less than half a serving, a study of 130,000 people across 21 countries published in The Lancet September 11 finds.

The findings are consistent with previous studies, but stand in contrast to current dietary guidelines which recommend consuming 2-4 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy per day, and avoiding  consumption of whole-fat dairy for cardiovascular disease prevention.

With cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of mortality worldwide, the authors conclude whole-fat dairy should be encouraged, not discouraged.

“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,” says lead author Dr. Mahshid Dehghan of McMaster University in Canada.

Dairy consumption was highest in North America and Europe (above 4 servings per day) and lowest in south Asia, China, Africa and southeast Asia (less than 1 serving per day).

A serving of dairy was equivalent to an 8 ounces of milk or yogurt, one slice of  cheese, or a teaspoon of butter.

Participants were grouped into four categories: no dairy, less than 1 serving per day, 1-2 servings per day, and 3 servings per day.

The people who consumed 3 servings of full-fat dairy per day had lower rates of total mortality (3.4%) than those who consumed no dairy (5.6%) and lower rates of cardiovascular disease (3.5% vs 4.9%)

Higher intake of milk and yoghurt (above 1 serving per day) was associated with lower rates of the composite outcome, which combines total mortality and cardiovascular disease (6.2% vs 8.7%), compared to no consumption.

The authors say that more research into why dairy might be protective against cardiovascular diseases is now needed.

“The recommendation to consume low-fat dairy is based on the presumed harms of saturated fats on a single cardiovascular risk marker, LDL cholesterol,” the authors say.

“However, evidence suggests that some saturated fats may be beneficial to cardiovascular health, and dairy products may also contain other potentially beneficial compounds, including specific amino acids, unsaturated fats, vitamin K1 and K2, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and potentially probiotics [if not pasteurized or fermented]. The effect of dairy on cardiovascular health should therefore consider the net effect on health outcomes of all these elements.”

The author of this article would add that grass-fed milk has a totally different fat composition than factory-farmed milk. For example, it is much higher in heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. And that homogenization denatures the fat and pasteurization destroys the enzymes and many of the nutrients in milk.

In short, I personally would never recommend factory-farmed milk and personally only consume raw, unpasteurized, non-homogenized, grass-fed milk from local, humane farmers.

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. I am not a medical professional, only an informed, investigative journalist, who highly recommends this book:

The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated: The History, Politics and Science of Nature’s Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows

RELATED: Why You’ve Never Heard of the Mayo Clinic’s “Raw Milk Cure”






6 responses to “Full-Fat Dairy Protects Against Heart Disease and Boosts Longevity, New International Study Finds”

  1. Chris Lalonde Avatar

    It’s reckless and disingenuous to make such conclusions in this article based on the PURE study – a very broad and wide reaching survey that, while of benefit to develop hypothesis for further in-depth targeted studies, is, by no means, strictly adhering to anything close to what could be called scientific method. Analysis from other researchers on this survey may well conclude that very poor people with barely anything to eat get sick and die more often than affluent people with access to both ample diets, and hospitals.

  2. Renato Bohl Avatar
    Renato Bohl

    You’re so full of shit!!
    Enjoy the money from the dairy industry!

  3. Ed Avatar

    Via james kenney, PhD, FACN

    More nonsense from the PURE nonsense trial. Comparing developing and advanced countries in terms of health outcomes is nonsense. Developing countries have far fewer people on statins, BP-meds, and have far less effective EMS and medical care for those with CVD. They also tend to consume less dairy and more salt. So there are many confounders in this PURE study. So if as they suggests from this study more fatty dairy products actually protects against atherosclerosis and CAD how did we ever think dairy fat was bad? Does dairy fat impact blood lipids favorably and can one reverse atherosclerosis by eating more full fat dairy products? What happens to LDL-C levels when people consume full fat dairy instead on nonfat dairy or soy milk? Seems I recall back in the 1970s the Fins led the world with an average serum cholesterol levels in middle age of about 280mg/dl and they also led the world in the consumption of dairy fat and the death rate from heart attacks and MIs. Finland acted on this evidence linking saturated fat and cholesterol intake to high serum cholesterol and CAD and commenced on a massive public health approach that resulted in a marked reduction of dairy fat and this resulted in a major reduction in serum cholesterol levels and cardiovascular events and deaths and reduction in total mortality. It would be quite ironic if they experienced those major reductions in CAD and total mortality “despite“ the reduction in dairy fat.

  4. Ed Avatar

    This “positive news” dairy study was funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Hmm, let’s see. Who is the biggest user of antibiotics in the world and who produces antibiotics? BINGO! We have a winner! It behooves the pharmaceutical industry to prop up the dairy industry, they are after all the largest user of antibiotics (Tufts U. pegged animal ag. at over 50% of the entire world’s usage of antibiotics). I am no genius but this study SCREAMS conflict of interest.

  5. Daniel Skipp Avatar
    Daniel Skipp

    Bullshit worthless epidemiology without credible “adjustment for the confounding variables” of richer nations living longer owing to more nutrition, better medicine etc. Nonsciencical and probably paid-off conclusions. As the Harvard article by T.H.Chan points out. The fact that milk mongers push the slavery and murder in dairy farming as “humane” kills their credibility anyway. We are not evolved to drink milk as adults. Grow up.

  6. manina K Avatar
    manina K

    its official you want us all dead..
    I guess milk is not doing well since studies show its the worst thing for human consumption.. good try though