The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Saturated Fatty Acids in Dairy: Beware of Oversimplification

Saturated fatty acids in dairy: Beware of oversimplification

Many consumers choose to exclude dairy from their diet because of the perception that regular consumption is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. However, as a food group, dairy includes an array of fatty acids, nutrients and non-nutrients in a complex food matrix, which affect lipoprotein metabolism differentially. The review describes the intricate link between dairy intake and cardiovascular disease and summarises current evidence on the effects of dairy-derived saturated fatty acids on the blood lipid profile. Research shows that there is no conclusive evidence that the intake of milk and other dairy products is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and that dairy components may in fact confer a cardioprotective effect. The general consensus is that interventions for heart health require a whole-diet and lifestyle approach and should not focus on single nutrients. Regular dairy intake is recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet for everyone.

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