Shocking Twist: Dairy Fat may PROTECT Your Heart, Not Hurt It

Saturated fat is evil! No, it’s not! It’s good for you! Talk about a mixed bag of science. You probably heard growing up that saturated fat was the conduit to heart attacks and stroke, but in recent years, research has found that saturated fat might not be the heart-destroyer it was once believed to be. You can enjoy dairy products without fear of the saturated fats contained within them.

Go ahead and spread some butter on that roll.

The study comes from researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. The authors found “no significant link” between dairy fats and risk of heart disease or stroke. [1]

In a rather shocking twist, they found that a fatty acid in dairy may actually decrease the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Study Details

The study spanned 22 years and included nearly 3,000 adults aged 65 and older. Scientists measured plasma levels of 3 different fatty acids found in dairy products starting in 1992, and then again 6 and 13 years later.

Those with higher fatty acid levels – considered by researchers to be a sign of higher dairy consumption – had a 42% lower risk of dying from stroke.

Heart Expert: Saturated Fat Causing Heart Disease is a Myth

Marcia Otto, Ph.D., the study’s first and corresponding author and assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health, said:

“Our findings not only support, but significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.” [2]

Otto’s words are a far cry from those contained in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which state that people should consume fat-free or low-fat dairy products, including milk, and/or fortified soy beverages. And, as Otto pointed out, most fat-free and low-fat dairy products contain loads of added sugars, which can lead to the same health issues they’re supposed to prevent.

That was intentional, by the way. In the 1960s, the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists to author “studies” framing sugar in a positive light and fat in a health-destroying light. Decades later, it seems that many scientists and physicians still haven’t broken up with those fraudulent findings.

Otto and her team acknowledge the mixed messages surrounding dietary guidelines.

“Consumers have been exposed to so much different and conflicting information about diet, particularly in relation to fats. It’s therefore important to have robust studies, so people can make more balanced and informed choices based on scientific fact rather than hearsay.”

Top Cardiologists: Saturated Fat NOT the Cause of Heart Disease

You can read more for yourself in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Sources:

[1] Philly Voice

[2] Science Daily

The University of Texas