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Is Skimmed Milk Healthier Than Full Cream Milk? Not Anymore!

It has been found that consuming cheese, milk and yogurt – even full-fat versions – does not increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Is Skimmed Milk Healthier Than Full Cream Milk? Not Anymore!

For a while now, dieticians and health experts have been shunning full-fat versions of milk, cheese or yogurt in the mistaken view that they could harm one's health. Doctors, public health experts and official healthy eating guidelines have for many years identified saturated fats as potentially harmful for cardiovascular health and advised consumers to minimize their intake.

Young people, especially young women, have been often drinking too little milk as a result of this concern, which could damage the development of their bones and lead to conditions in later life including osteoporosis. Consuming too little milk can deprive young people of calcium.

Also, saturated fat is a vital part of diet. Adults typically get 34.6% of their total energy from fats as a whole. Pregnant women who drank too little milk could be increasing the risk of their child having neuro-developmental difficulties, which could affect their cognitive abilities and stunt their growth, experts have said.

Contradictory to the above beliefs, it has now been found that consuming cheese, milk and yogurt - even full-fat versions - does not increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to recent research that challenges the widely held belief that dairy products can damage health.

The results are based on a new meta-analysis of 29 previous studies involving 9,38,465 participants from around the world undertaken over the last 35 years, of whether dairy products increase the risk of death from any cause and from either serious heart problems or cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that such foodstuffs did not raise the risk of any of those events and had a neutral impact on human health.

"This meta-analysis showed there were no associations between total dairy, high- and low-fat dairy, milk and the health outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease," says the report, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Researchers at Reading University said: "There's quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that's a misconception. While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that's wrong".

However, the government's health advisers urged consumers to continue to exercise caution about eating too many products high in saturated fat and to stick to low-fat versions instead.

"Dairy products form an important part of a healthy balanced diet; however, many are high in saturated fat and salt. We're all consuming too much of both, increasing our risk of heart disease," said a spokesman for Public Health England. "We recommend choosing lower-fat varieties of milk and dairy products or eating smaller amounts to reduce saturated fat and salt in the diet."

"No associations were found for total (high-fat/low-fat) dairy and milk with the health outcomes of mortality, CHD or CVD," they said. In fact, they added, fermented dairy products may potentially slightly lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Saturated fat is a vital part of diet. The NDNS found that adults typically got 34.6% of their total energy from fats as a whole, just below the 35% the government recommends. However, while total fat consumption was just within target, saturated fats still made up an unhealthily large proportion of total food energy - 12.6%, against the recommended maximum of 11%.

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