Coronary heart disease: is dairy beneficial?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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New research suggests consumption of fermented dairy products may protect against coronary heart disease (CHD) in men, but high consumption of non-fermented dairy could increase the risk. 

The study explored the associations of fermented dairy products, such as sour-milk, and non-fermented dairy products, such as milk, with the risk of incident CHD among 1,981 men from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Dietary intakes were assessed with instructed four-day food records. 

After a mean follow-up of 20 years, 472 CHD events were recorded. Total dairy intake had no association with the risk of incident CHD, however, those in the highest intake quartile of fermented dairy products had 27 per cent (95% CI 5-44; P-trend=·02) lower risk of CHD compared with those in the lowest quartile. Meanwhile, those in the highest intake quartile of non-fermented dairy products had 52 per cent (95% CI 13-104; P-trend=·003) higher risk of CHD. 

Further analyses of low-fat and high-fat categories showed that only low-fat fermented dairy was inversely associated with CHD risk, the authors said. 

Presenting the findings in the British Journal of Nutrition, the authors said the results suggest fermentation affects the association between dairy consumption and risk of CHD.