Whole milk is claimed to beneficial to human health, according to a new study released in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The new study claims that whole fat dairy products do not increase cardiovascular risk, despite links made to several health conditions through excessive consumption of dairy.

The new study goes against advice given to the public by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services. Full fat dairy is known for having a high impact on cholesterol levels, as it raises low levels of lipoprotein (LDL), and is known for being the ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol.

High levels of LDL cholesterol are known to contribute to cardiovascular conditions, such as coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis.

The paper was authored by Marcia Otto, who is an assistant professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas Health Centre in Houston. Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, led the study with controversial results.

Dr Mozaffairan and his team studied over 2,900 senior citizens, measuring their blood plasma levels of three fatty acids contain by dairy products. The study began in 1992, their levels were measured 6 years later and 13 years later. They were looking for any associations with total mortality, cause-specific mortality and cardiovascular disease.

They discovered that the three fatty acids they were examining did not correlate with the total risk of mortality. High levels of heptadecanoic fatty acid were associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease.

Marcia Otto, lead author of the study, said: “[D]airy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase [the] risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition […], the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.”

The findings of the paper are controversial, and dairy has been associated with numerous health problems. From increasing cases of lactose intolerance, to breast cancer, dairy is still unfavourable to many.

Aside from the health implications of consuming dairy, the ethics of the dairy industry are becoming an issue at the forefront of consumers’ minds. As vegans, we understand the horrific process cows are put through to supply dairy – and needless to say, that should be enough to make people change their lifestyle.

Money talks, as it was reported recently that dairy giant Dean Foods are closing facilities due to falling sales. The future is vegan, as more companies recognise the shift in consumer preferences.

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