Is that dairy habit helping or harming your heart health?

Nutrition

By pH health care professionals

Vegetable fats are better than dairy fats, and dairy fats are better than meat fats, a recent Harvard study suggests.

What prompted the study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was the ongoing debate between the role of dairy fat and risk for cardiovascular diseases (like heart disease and stroke). Researchers found that full-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, cream) neither increased nor decreased heart disease.

However, they did notice decreased cardiovascular risk when swapping out dairy fat for vegetable or polyunsaturated fat, causing a 10-24 percent drop in cardiovascular disease risk.  They also noticed a 28 percent lower risk when dairy fat calories were swapped out for whole-grain carbohydrates.

On the other hand, when dairy fat was replaced with other kinds of animal fat, such as from red meat, there was a 6 percent higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

“These results suggest that dairy fat is not an optimal type of fat in our diets. Although one can enjoy moderate amounts of full-fat dairy such as cheese, a healthy diet pattern tends to be plant-based and low in saturated fat,” said Frank Hu, senior author of the study. “These results strongly support existing recommendations to choose mainly unsaturated fats from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and some oily fish for a heart-healthy diet.”

Be proactive and enjoy moderate amounts of full-fat dairy products, and be sure to include plant-based fats in your balanced diet!

Not sure if you are getting healthy fat in your diet? Consider nutrition testing!

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

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