Thinking Citizen Blog — More dairy? Less Dairy? Who knows? (Really)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care, Health Insurance and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: More dairy? Less Dairy? Who knows? (Really)
I was rather shocked to see the headlines this week: “More dairy, lower heart risk.” Not possible. I had banished my beloved full fat cheese, yoghurt, and milk from my diet decades ago. Now they tell me it was one big mistake? That the opposite is true? Really? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
HOW BIG A STUDY? HOW LONG A PERIOD? HOW CREDIBLE?
1. 4150 Swedish 60 year-olds.
2. Studied for 16 years.
3. “The team then confirmed these findings in other populations after combining the Swedish results with 17 other studies involving a total of almost 43,000 people from the US, Denmark and the UK.”
SO WHAT’S THE CONCLUSION? NO NEED TO AVOID DAIRY FATS?
1. “Increasing evidence suggests that the health impact of dairy foods may be more dependent on the type — such as cheese, yoghurt, milk, and butter — rather than the fat content, which has raised doubts if avoidance of dairy fats overall is beneficial for cardiovascular health,” (Kathy Trieu, lead author)
2. “Our study suggests that cutting down on dairy fat or avoiding dairy altogether might not be the best choice for heart health,” (ditto)
3. “It is important to remember that although dairy foods can be rich in saturated fat, they are also rich in many other nutrients and can be a part of a healthy diet.”
NB: “However, other fats like those found in seafood, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils can have greater health benefits than dairy fats,”
“ASSOCIATIONS CAN NOT ESTABLISH CAUSALITY” and “RESIDUAL CONFOUNDING”
1. “The data reported are for associations, however associations can not establish causality.” (Alice Lichtenstein, Tufts University)
2. While the statistical analysis controlled for such things BMI, smoking, diabetes, education, fish and fresh vegetable intake, and processed meat, “residual confounding can not be ruled out.” (ditto)
3. The Swedish study seemed to confirm the findings of a University of Texas study published in 2018 involving 2900 patients over 22 years. (See last two links below.)
CONCLUSION: time to switch back?
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.