A diet high in milk does not increase the risk of Heart disease and Stroke, study suggests. On the contrary, it may protect against stroke and heart disease.
The authors of the study feel that the present perception that milk is bad for the heart harmful “should be challenged, and every effort should be made to restore it to its rightful place in a healthy diet.”
The study involved 665 men in South Wales who were between 45 and 59 years of age when first evaluated from 1979 to 1983. After recording their weight and food intake for seven days, the subjects were followed for 20 years to assess the occurrence of cardiovascular events.
At the start of the study, virtually all of the men reported drinking whole (full fat) milk, but later on virtually all had switched to skim or semi-skim milk.
Men whose milk intake was at or above the median level (187 mL per day) were 48 percent less likely to suffer a stroke and 12 percent less likely to have a Heart attack or other cardiac event than men who drank lesser amounts of milk.
This finding “challenges the belief that because milk drinking raises blood cholesterol level, it increases the risk of vascular disease,” Dr. P. C. Elwood, from Llandough Hospital in Cardiff, UK, and colleagues write in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The authors caution that more study is needed to fully characterize the association between milk intake and the risk of cardiovascular events. Nevertheless, they also point out that such a study might have to involve more than 20,000 subjects, a number of whom would be obliged to avoid milk for as long as 5 years.
SOURCE: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health June 2005.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD