Studies of more than 660,000 people suggest that not all dairy is created equal whenit comes to effects on our health. People who eat cheese tend to live longer, but drinking a lot of milk can lead to slightly higher rates of coronary heart disease and death.
Other new studies suggest there might be something about the way fat and protein is arranged in products like cheese and yogurt that makes them better for our hearts than milk or butter. Eating cheese and yogurt may be linked to a longer life according to researchers at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2018. The team, led by cholesterol expert Maciej Banach of the Medical University of Lodz in Poland, compiled data from studies of 636,726 people on a long-term scale of 15 years. Their results suggested that not all dairy is created equal when it comes to your heart. Drinking milk appears to up risk of coronary heart disease by 4%, according to the study, but consuming yogurt and cheese does not seem linked with negative health outcomes.
The finding aligns with what other researchers are discovering about dairy. Some types may not be bad for us after all. In fact, we’ve known for a while that people who eat more fermented dairy products like cheese and yogurt are at a lower risk for developing heart disease and Type-2 diabetes. “Public health officials should revise the guidelines on dairy consumption,” Banach said in a release. Many heart and health experts are increasingly suggesting that overall, the fat in dairy may not be as bad for us as once thought, even though much of it is saturated fat, which is considered one of the heart-clogging kinds.
But a big implication of the new finding is that it may not be ideal to lump all types of dairy into one dietary category, since milk seems to have a different impact on our hearts than yogurt or cheese. Milk “appears to increase the risk of coronary heart disease,” the researchers said in their release, while cheese (and yogurt, to a lesser extent) does the opposite. So while cheese and yogurt can be a beneficial part of your diet, it may be best to keep milk and butter intake in check.