Study: No, enjoying that full-fat ice cream won't kill you


The next time you’re out to dinner and the bread basket arrives at your table, don’t be afraid to put the butter to good use.

A new study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, published Wednesday, found “no significant link” between dairy fats and heart disease or stroke.

On the contrary, Marcia Otto, Ph.D., the study’s first and corresponding author, said the results of the study actually suggest one fatty acid in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The 22-year study included nearly 3,000 adults ages 65 and older, measuring plasma levels of three different fatty acids in dairy products beginning in 1992, and then again six and 13 years later.

Ultimately, people with higher fatty acid levels — which, the study says, suggests higher consumption of whole-fat dairy products — had a 42 percent lower risk of dying from stroke.

The study runs at least slightly contrary to what health experts often recommend to the public.

The FDA’s advice on monitoring total fat in your diet includes substituting fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and even fortified soy beverages, for full-fat dairy products.

And the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes choosing "fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages" as one of its key recommendations. 

This isn't to say full-fat dairy products are now considered superfoods: Like everything in life, fat is still better in moderation.

But Otto believes the study’s results “highlight the need to revisit current dietary guidance on whole fat dairy foods.”

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