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Fermented dairy products may cut coronary heart disease risk in men

Men in Finland with the highest intake of fermented dairy products studied had a 27% lower risk for coronary heart disease, according to findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

“Overall, the evidence concerning the impact of various dairy products on the [coronary heart disease] risk is inconclusive,” Timo T. Koskinen of the University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, and colleagues wrote.

“Previous studies have mainly grouped dairy products based on their fat content or investigated commonly used single dairy items like milk, cheese or yogurt, while other group studies have considered dairy as one group. Thus, to clarify the impact of dairy consumption on coronary heart disease development, we aimed to investigate how different dairy categories, based on fermentation status and fat content, are associated with the coronary heart disease risk,” they added.

Researchers studied dietary intake for 4 days in 1,981 men aged 42 to 60 years with no coronary heart disease from a previously existing cohort in Finland. Their mean intake of total dairy products was 707 ± 365 g per day, of which 187 ± 218 g per day came from fermented dairy products. Low-fat products made up 87% of the fermented dairy intake, 60% of the nonfermented dairy intake and 67% of the total dairy intake. The men’s health statuses were followed for a mean of 20.1 years.

Milk in a Glass 
Men in Finland with the highest intake of fermented dairy products studied had a 27% lower risk for coronary heart disease, according to findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Source:Adobe

Koskinen and colleagues found those in the highest intake quartile of fermented dairy had 27% (95% CI, 5-44) lower risk for coronary heart disease vs. those with the lowest intake. Conversely, those in the highest intake quartile of nonfermented dairy had 52% (95% CI, 13-104) higher risk for coronary heart disease.

In addition, fermented dairy products containing 3.5% fat or less were linked to lower risk for coronary heart disease (HR in the highest quartile = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.57-0.97). High-fat fermented dairy products, as well as high-fat or low-fat nonfermented dairy products, had no link to coronary heart disease.

“These findings suggest that fermentation could be one key element affecting the associations between different dairy products and the development of coronary heart disease,” Koskinen and colleagues wrote. – by Janel Miller

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

Men in Finland with the highest intake of fermented dairy products studied had a 27% lower risk for coronary heart disease, according to findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

“Overall, the evidence concerning the impact of various dairy products on the [coronary heart disease] risk is inconclusive,” Timo T. Koskinen of the University of Eastern Finland, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, and colleagues wrote.

“Previous studies have mainly grouped dairy products based on their fat content or investigated commonly used single dairy items like milk, cheese or yogurt, while other group studies have considered dairy as one group. Thus, to clarify the impact of dairy consumption on coronary heart disease development, we aimed to investigate how different dairy categories, based on fermentation status and fat content, are associated with the coronary heart disease risk,” they added.

Researchers studied dietary intake for 4 days in 1,981 men aged 42 to 60 years with no coronary heart disease from a previously existing cohort in Finland. Their mean intake of total dairy products was 707 ± 365 g per day, of which 187 ± 218 g per day came from fermented dairy products. Low-fat products made up 87% of the fermented dairy intake, 60% of the nonfermented dairy intake and 67% of the total dairy intake. The men’s health statuses were followed for a mean of 20.1 years.

Milk in a Glass 
Men in Finland with the highest intake of fermented dairy products studied had a 27% lower risk for coronary heart disease, according to findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Source:Adobe

Koskinen and colleagues found those in the highest intake quartile of fermented dairy had 27% (95% CI, 5-44) lower risk for coronary heart disease vs. those with the lowest intake. Conversely, those in the highest intake quartile of nonfermented dairy had 52% (95% CI, 13-104) higher risk for coronary heart disease.

In addition, fermented dairy products containing 3.5% fat or less were linked to lower risk for coronary heart disease (HR in the highest quartile = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.57-0.97). High-fat fermented dairy products, as well as high-fat or low-fat nonfermented dairy products, had no link to coronary heart disease.

“These findings suggest that fermentation could be one key element affecting the associations between different dairy products and the development of coronary heart disease,” Koskinen and colleagues wrote. – by Janel Miller

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective
    Andrew M. Freeman

    Andrew M. Freeman

    When analyzing Koskinen and colleague’s interesting findings, it is important to note that the dairy production industry and process is considerably different in Europe than it is in the United States. In addition, the population these researchers studied consume significantly more fruit, berries, plant materials and fiber than their U.S. counterparts. Consequently, if the same study was conducted stateside, it is extremely likely the findings would likely not be similar. Thus, on this basis of this study alone I would not recommend primary care physicians in the U.S. tell their patients to start drinking lots of fermented milk. There may be something special about the fermentation process that changes the properties of milk products and this study sheds some more light on this idea. Interestingly and not surprisingly, lower fat seems to be associated with better CVD outcomes. Dairy is consumed in many different ways in many different foods, so it is hard to generalize if more intake would make a difference in one’s health. Dairy products are also the number one source of saturated fat and salt here in the U.S., and have been tied to cancer, cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions in some studies, so I would recommend that primary care physicians tell their patients to drink and eat low-fat versions of these products, if consumed at all. The perfect beverage for humans is still water. Additionally, there is benefit to unsweetened coffee and unsweetened tea if water is not consumed. So in sum, there is still no clear consensus amongst experts or in the literature about which dairy products are beneficial, if any.

    • Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP
    • Associate professor
      Director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness, director, clinical cardiology and operations, division of cardiology, department of medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver

    Disclosures: Freeman reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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