Low-fat dairy again linked to healthier hearts

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

A healthy lifestyle should include low-fat dairy products to lower
the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) associated with poor
kidney function, suggests new research from the US.

The study, published in this month's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​, adds to an ever growing body of evidence of the contribution of low-fat dairy to an overall healthy diet. According to results of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), the researchers stated that a 'healthy diet' should consist of low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish, fruit and vegetables, and nuts. "The theoretical advantage of studying a dietary pattern characterized by fewer food groups is that it more readily lends itself to application across populations,"​ wrote lead author Judith Nettleton from the University of Minnesota. Study details ​ The dietary patterns of 5089 men and women aged between 45 and 84 were assessed using food frequency questionnaires (FFQ). Urine samples were also collected to enable the researchers to measure albumin and creatinine levels and calculate the albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR). A high ACR means that proteins which are normally absorbed by the body are being excreted in the urine, indicating poor kidney function. Nettleton and co-workers found that consumption of the six food groups had a lower ACR, indicating better kidney function. This has a knock-on for heart health since poor kidney function can lead to disease of the small blood vessels surrounding the kidney, which can extend to large blood vessels and lead to CVD. The consumption of low-fat dairy, alone or in combination with the other five key food groups was indicative of lower ACR. "Many food groups contribute to the characterization of relations with a variety of CVD risk markers, although only six food groups contribute much of the information in MESA,"​ wrote the researchers. Industry welcome ​ The study was welcomed in Britain by The Dairy Council. Its director, Dr Judith Bryans, said: "This study suggests that dairy has a positive effect on the kidneys and cardiovascular disease risk, which is very encouraging as it provides further evidence of the important role of dairy foods when consumed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle."Science stacks up ​ Only recently, researchers reported in the April issue of the Journal of Pediatrics​ that consuming high levels of low fat dairy foods, fruits and vegetables as part of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) could help lowed blood pressure in adolescents. Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Volume 87, Pages 1825-1836 "Associations between microalbuminuria and animal foods, plant foods, and dietary patterns in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)" ​Authors: J.A. Nettleton, M.B. Schulze, R. Jiang, N.S. Jenny, G.L. Burke and D.R. Jacobs, Jr

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