Eating cheese does not raise risk of heart attack or stroke, study finds

Consumption of even full-fat dairy products does not increase risk, international team of experts say

By Denis Campbell  /  The Guardian
grated-cheese-grater-cheese-dairy-product-kitchen

Consuming cheese, milk and yogurt — even full-fat versions — does not increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to research that challenges the widely held belief that dairy products can damage health.

The findings, from an international team of experts, contradict the view that dairy products can be harmful because of their high saturated fat content. The experts dismiss that fear as “a misconception [and] mistaken belief.”

The results come from a new meta-analysis of 29 previous studies of whether dairy products increase the risk of death from any cause and from either serious heart problems or cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that such foodstuffs did not raise the risk of any of those events and had a “neutral” impact on human health.

“This meta-analysis showed there were no associations between total dairy, high and low-fat dairy, milk and the health outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease,” says the report, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Ian Givens, a professor of food chain nutrition at Reading University, who was one of the researchers, said: “There’s quite a widespread but mistaken belief among the public that dairy products in general can be bad for you, but that’s a misconception. While it is a widely held belief, our research shows that that’s wrong.

“There’s been a lot of publicity over the last five to 10 years about how saturated fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and a belief has grown up that they must increase the risk, but they don’t.”

However, the government’s health advisers urged consumers to continue to exercise caution about eating too many products high in saturated fat and to stick to low-fat versions instead.

“Dairy products form an important part of a healthy balanced diet; however, many are high in saturated fat and salt. We’re all consuming too much of both, increasing our risk of heart disease,” said a spokesman for Public Health England. “We recommend choosing lower-fat varieties of milk and dairy products or eating smaller amounts to reduce saturated fat and salt in the diet.”

Givens and colleagues from Reading, Copenhagen University in Denmark and Wageningen University in the Netherlands analyzed 29 studies involving 938,465 participants from around the world undertaken over the last 35 years, including five done in the UK.

“No associations were found for total (high-fat/low-fat) dairy and milk with the health outcomes of mortality, CHD or CVD,” they said. In fact, they added, fermented dairy products may potentially slightly lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Doctors, public health experts and official healthy eating guidelines have for many years identified saturated fats as potentially harmful for heart and cardiovascular health and advised consumers to minimize their intake.

That has led to consumers increasingly buying lower-fat versions of dairy products. For example, 85 percent of all milk sold in the UK is now semi-skimmed or skimmed.

Givens said consumers were shunning full-fat versions of cheese, milk or yogurt in the mistaken view that they could harm their health. Young people, especially young women, were now often drinking too little milk as a result of that concern, which could damage the development of their bones and lead to conditions in later life including osteoporosis, or brittle bones, he said. Consuming too little milk can deprive young people of calcium.

Pregnant women who drank too little milk could be increasing the risk of their child having neuro-developmental difficulties, which could affect their cognitive abilities and stunt their growth, Givens added.

The most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the government’s occasional snapshot of eating habits, found that dairy products, including butter, accounted for the highest proportion of saturated fat consumption in British diets — 27 percent, compared with meat’s 24 percent. But if butter was not counted then dairy products together were the second largest source of saturated fat, at 22 percent.

Saturated fat is a vital part of diet. The NDNS found that adults typically got 34.6 percent of their total energy from fats as a whole, just below the 35 percent the government recommends. However, while total fat consumption was just within target, saturated fats still made up an unhealthily large proportion of total food energy — 12.6 percent, against the recommended maximum of 11 percent.

Givens said: “Our meta-analysis included an unusually large number of participants. We are confident that our results are robust and accurate.”

The research was part-funded by the three pro-dairy groups — Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Research Institute and Dairy Australia — but they had no influence over it, the paper said. Givens is an adviser to the Food Standards Agency.

Source: Taipei Times (http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2017/05/15/2003670605/2)

Stressed? Better lay off that fried chicken, ice cream, chocolate bars…

Source: China Post (http://www.chinapost.com.tw/health/2017/05/09/497063/Stressed%3F-Better.htm)

The China Post news staff  Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 5:02 pm TWN

tress and junk food — such a vicious cycle.

fried-chicken-frying (1)

But that inevitable crash down to Earth takes a toll not only on our bodies but on mental well-being as well.

That’s according to psychologist Shih Chia-chuo, who says that junk food (sweets, fried and other processed foods) not only cause dizziness and fatigue just an hour after we eat them, but also increase the likelihood of depression.

Shih says one of his patients is a working mom with a family of four. Unable to juggle long work hours and the needs of her family, she gained over 15 kg in two years while experiencing increased anxiety and sleep deprivation.

Shih said the mom was essentially working a “second shift" at home after leaving the office. Unable to catch a breath, these women can gradually develop eating habits that facilitate the onset of depression.

The symptoms of depression include the lack of appetite, inadequate sleep, constant feelings of anxiety and agitation, impatience, early fatigue, forgetfulness, loss of concentration, decrease in self-confidence and prevalence of negative thoughts.

The problem is when we self-medicate by relying on sweets and fast food, which along with caffeine and tobacco, exacerbate the depression, says Shih.

Not only does Shih suggest limiting the consumption of these products, he also recommends foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamins B and C, which can be found in fresh fruits (such as kiwi, grapes and cherries), dark leafy vegetables, dried fish, yogurt, milk and tofu.

Next time, think before you shell out for those tasty fried treats and opt for the foods that can help strengthen your body’s adrenal cortex and help reduce stress instead.

 

 

Investigation into dioxins in eggs is to focus on feed

Source: Taipei Times (http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/05/02/2003669810)

Staff writer, with CNA

egg

An investigation into dioxins that contaminated eggs from a Changhua County chicken farm is focusing on chicken feed after ruling out water, air and soil as the source of contamination, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said on Sunday.

The Hung Chang Chicken Farm last week supplied dioxin-tainted eggs to a Miaoli County store, council officials said.

The farm changed management two months ago, the council said, adding that the family that runs the farm had been making the feed.

On Friday, more than 42,000 chickens were culled and incinerated by the county’s Department of Agriculture and Animal Disease Control Center, as well as about 15 tonnes of eggs.

Meanwhile, of the 8,962kg of eggs that were removed from store shelves as a precautionary measure, 3,730kg were free of dioxins and have been released for sale. The rest are to be destroyed, the Food and Drug Administration said on Friday.

Tests found 2.88 picogram/gram (pg/g) and 3.34pg/g of dioxin in two eggs from Hung Chang farm, above the permissible level of 2.5pg/g. One picogram is one trillionth of a gram.

Dioxins, a group of highly toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals, are pollutants produced as a result of human activity, such as burning garbage, and can accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals.

Dioxins can damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, according to the WHO.

On April 21, the FDA ordered eggs from three farms in Changhua County’s Fangyuan Township (芳苑) be removed from store shelves as a precautionary measure after excessive levels of dioxins were found in an egg from the area.

After investigation, two of the three farms were cleared and Hung Chang farm was identified as the source of the problem.

The owners of the other two farms are demanding government compensation for loss of revenue.

 

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Eating cheese does not raise risk of heart attack or stroke, study finds

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