Current advice to limit dairy intake should be reconsidered

August 28, 2018

Munich, Germany - 28 Aug 2018: The consumption of dairy products has long been thought to increase the risk of death, particularly from coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease, and cancer, because of dairy's relatively high levels of saturated fat. Yet evidence for any such link, especially among US adults, is inconsistent. With the exception of milk, which appears to increase the risk of CHD, dairy products have been found to protect against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes, according to research presented today at ESC Congress 2018, the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology.1 Therefore, current guidelines to limit consumption of dairy products, especially cheese and yogurt, should be relaxed; at the same time, the drinking of non-fat or low-fat milk should be recommended, especially for those who consume large quantities of milk.

"A meta-analysis of 29 cohort studies2 published in 2017 found no association between the consumption of dairy products and either cardiovascular disease (CVD) or all-cause mortality," said Professor Maciej Banach, from the Department of Hypertension at Medical University of Lodz, Poland. "Yet a large 20-year prospective study of Swedish adults3, also published in 2017, found that higher consumption of milk was associated with a doubling of mortality risk, including from CVD, in the cohort of women."

Professor Banach and his co-researchers examined data from a 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) study of 24,474 adults with a mean age of 47.6 years, 51.4% of whom were female. (NHANES is conducted by the US's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) During the follow-up period of 76.4 months, 3,520 total deaths were recorded, including 827 cancer deaths, 709 cardiac deaths, and 228 cerebrovascular disease deaths. The researchers found consumption of all dairy products to be associated with a 2% lower total mortality risk and consumption of cheese to be associated with an 8% lower total mortality risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.95-0.99; HR: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.87-0.97, respectively). For cerebrovascular mortality, they found a 4% lower risk with total dairy consumption and 7% lower risk with milk consumption (HR: 0.96, 95% CI: 0.94-0.98; HR: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.91-0.96, respectively).

A meta-analysis by Professor Banach and his co-researchers of 12 prospective cohort studies with 636,726 participants who were followed for approximately 15 years confirmed these results. But milk consumption was also associated with a 4% higher CHD mortality, while consumption of fermented dairy products such as yogurt was associated with a 3% lower rate of total mortality. The yogurt finding, however, was determined to be not significant after further adjustment (Q4: HR: 0.98, p=0.125).

The researchers concluded that among US adults, higher total dairy consumption protected against both total mortality and mortality from cerebrovascular causes. At the same time, higher milk consumption was associated with an increased risk of CHD, an association that needs further study. Causality, however, could be difficult to determine, as most people who consume milk also consume other dairy products.

"In light of the protective effects of dairy products," said Professor Banach, "public health officials should revise the guidelines on dairy consumption. And given the evidence that milk increases the risk of CHD, it is advisable to drink fat-free or low-fat milk."
-end-
Notes to editors

SOURCES OF FUNDING: [None]

DISCLOSURES: [Professor Banach declares no conflict of interest.]

References and notes

1 Abstract P5417 "Consumption of dairy product and its association with total and cause specific mortality - A population-based cohort study and meta-analysis" will be presented during: ESC Congress 2018, at the Poster Session "Nutrition, malnutrition and heart disease," on Tuesday, 28 August, from 8:30 to 12:30, in P5417.

2 Guo J, Astrup A, Lovegrove JA, Gijsbers L, Givens DI, Soedamah-Muthu SS. Milk and dairy consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. European journal of epidemiology. 2017;32(4):269-87.

3 Michaelsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiold S, Basu S, Warensjo Lemming E, Melhus H, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ (Clinical research ed). 2014;349:g6015.

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together health care professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

About ESC Congress 2018

ESC Congress is the world's largest and most influential cardiovascular event contributing to global awareness of the latest clinical trials and breakthrough discoveries. ESC Congress 2018 takes place 25 to 29 August at the Messe München in Munich, Germany. Explore the scientific programme.

More information is available from the ESC Press Office at press@escardio.org.

European Society of Cardiology

Related Mortality Articles from Brightsurf:

Being in treatment with statins reduces COVID-19 mortality by 22% to 25%
A research by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and Pere Virgili Institut (IISPV) led by LluĂ­s Masana has found that people who are being treated with statins have a 22% to 25% lower risk of dying from COVID-19.

Mortality rate higher for US rural residents
A recent study by Syracuse University sociology professor Shannon Monnat shows that mortality rates are higher for U.S. working-age residents who live in rural areas instead of metro areas, and the gap is getting wider.

COVID-19, excess all-cause mortality in US, 18 comparison countries
COVID-19 deaths and excess all-cause mortality in the U.S. are compared with 18 countries with diverse COVID-19 responses in this study.

New analysis shows hydroxychloroquine does not lower mortality in COVID-19 patients, and is associated with increased mortality when combined with the antibiotic azithromycin
A new meta-analysis of published studies into the drug hydroxychloroquine shows that it does not lower mortality in COVID-19 patients, and using it combined with the antibiotic azithromycin is associated with a 27% increased mortality.

Hydroxychloroquine reduces in-hospital COVID-19 mortality
An Italian observational study contributes to the ongoing debate regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine in the current pandemic.

What's the best way to estimate and track COVID-19 mortality?
When used correctly, the symptomatic case fatality ratio (sCFR) and the infection fatality ratio (IFR) are better measures by which to monitor COVID-19 epidemics than the commonly reported case fatality ratio (CFR), according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Anthony Hauser of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues.

COVID-19: Bacteriophage could decrease mortality
Bacteriophage can reduce bacterial growth in the lungs, limiting fluid build-up.

COPD and smoking associated with higher COVID-19 mortality
Current smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have an increased risk of severe complications and higher mortality with COVID-19 infection, according to a new study published May 11, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jaber Alqahtani of University College London, UK, and colleagues.

Highest mortality risks for poor and unemployed
Large dataset shows that income, work status and education have a clear influence on mortality in Germany.

Addressing causes of mortality in Zambia
Despite the fact that people in sub-Saharan Africa are now living longer than they did two decades ago, their average life expectancy remains below that of the rest of the world population.

Read More: Mortality News and Mortality Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.