Remember the days from your childhood when even after a thousand pleas from your mother, you wouldn’t drink a glass of milk? The kitchen was swarmed with chocolate-flavoured supplements and cookies just so you could be tricked into feeding your essential nutrient supply, but the mere sight of milk would make you nauseous. Well, it turns out you should have probably listened to your parents. A new study conducted by The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology suggests that lower daily milk consumption is associated with increased lifespan and risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
The pathbreaking study, published in The Lancet, is one of the largest of its kind and is the first multinational project to evaluate the relationship between dairy products and mortality and cardiovascular diseases. Researchers from The PURE followed 1,40,000 subjects, aged between 35 to 70 years, from 21 countries in five continents for over a period of nine years to study their dietary habits related to dairy intake, and more specifically, types of dairy and fat content. Taking other health issues such as family history of heart disease, age, sex, smoking status, physical activity and urban or rural location researchers evaluated the correlation of cardiovascular events and dairy intake.
Following nine years of assiduous tabulation, researchers of the study concluded that subjects with two or more servings of milk in a day projected lower risk profiles for not only cardiovascular diseases, but also non-cardiovascular related deaths. Researchers also found that people who consumed whole-fat milk had the lowest cardiovascular risk profiles. Regular butter consumption was found to increase the risks of cardiovascular events.
Consumers in the West have frequently targeted dairy consumption as they have thought it to be the cause of allergy flares, gastrointestinal ailments, respiratory illness, and skin disorders. The issue of animal abuse in the dairy industry, along with the use of potentially dangerous hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides in the animal foods have also caused the consumers to eschew from dairy intake. A study conducted at such large magnitude challenging these ideas might turn some heads and compel people to crossover to the other side.
But, the legitimacy of the study is already being challenged as two authors noted, in the same of The Lancet, that the study does not account for dietary changes that may have occurred in some individuals during the study period. They also raised an argument against the large scale age range (35-70 years) and relatively short follow-up period (nine years).
Yet, it is true that this is the closest we’ve come to study the direct association of dairy intake with mortality and heart diseases. Large databases prior to this have provided little insight into benefits or risks of dairy consumption with respect to cardiovascular disease. A study as groundbreaking as this might completely dissolve the memory of health concerns related to the use of milk in the future.