London, Aug 28 : Consuming dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt may be beneficial as they protect against mortality from cerebrovascular causes, suggests a study, emphasising the need to reconsider previous guidelines that advise a limit on dairy products' intake.
Owing to its relatively high levels of saturated fat, consumption of dairy products has long been thought to increase the risk of death, particularly from coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease and cancer.
Yet the evidence for any such link is inconsistent, said the researchers from the University of Lodz in Poland.
However, drinking milk was found to be an exception as it was associated with a four per cent higher CHD mortality, they noted.
The study, presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Germany, showed that consumption of all dairy products was associated with a four per cent lower risk for cerebrovascular mortality, and seven per cent lower risk with milk consumption.
While eating cheese was associated with an eight per cent lower total mortality risk, yogurt lowered the risk by three per cent.
"In light of the protective effects of dairy products, public health officials should revise the guidelines on dairy consumption.
And given the evidence that milk increases the risk of CHD, it is advisable to drink fat-free or low-fat milk," said Maciej Banach, Professor from the varsity.
Thus, the current guidelines limiting the consumption of dairy products, especially cheese and yogurt, should be relaxed, instead drinking non-fat or low-fat milk should be recommended, especially for those who consume large quantities of milk, the researchers said.
For the study, the team examined 24,474 adults with a mean age of 47.6 years, 51.4 per cent of whom were female.
A separate meta-analysis of 12 prospective cohort studies with 636,726 participants who were followed for approximately 15 years confirmed the results.