Study: No Significant Link Found Between Dairy Fat and Heart Disease

Enjoying full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and butter is unlikely to send people to an early grave, according to new research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

The study, published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no significant link between dairy fats and cause of death or, more specifically, heart disease and stroke – two of the country’s biggest killers often associated with a diet high in saturated fat. In fact, certain types of dairy fat may help guard against having a severe stroke, the researchers reported.

“Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke,” said Marcia Otto, Ph.D., the study’s first and corresponding author and assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, was senior author of the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The study evaluated how multiple biomarkers of fatty acid present in dairy fat related to heart disease and all-cause mortality over a 22-year period. This measurement methodology, as opposed to the more commonly used self-reported consumption, gave greater and more objective insight into the impact of long-term exposure to these fatty acids, according to the report.

Nearly 3,000 adults age 65 years and older were included in the study, which measured plasma levels of three different fatty acids found in dairy products at the beginning in 1992 and again at six and 13 years later.

None of the fatty acid types were significantly associated with total mortality. In fact one type was linked to lower cardiovascular disease deaths. People with higher fatty acid levels, suggesting higher consumption of whole-fat dairy products, had a 42 percent lower risk of dying from stroke.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans currently recommend serving fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and/or fortified soy beverages. But Otto pointed out that low-fat dairy foods such as low-fat yogurt and chocolate milk often include high amounts of added sugars, which may lead to poor cardiovascular and metabolic health.

“Consistent with previous findings, our results highlight the need to revisit current dietary guidance on whole fat dairy foods, which are rich sources of nutrients such as calcium and potassium. These are essential for health not only during childhood but throughout life, particularly also in later years when undernourishment and conditions like osteoporosis are more common,” Otto said.

Evidence-based research is key to educating people about nutrition, Otto said.

“Consumers have been exposed to so much different and conflicting information about diet, particularly in relation to fats,” she said. “It’s therefore important to have robust studies, so people can make more balanced and informed choices based on scientific fact rather than hearsay,” she added.

Source: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

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Full-fat dairy may actually benefit heart health . . . . .

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Conveyor Belt Sweets Cafe (回転スイーツカフェ)

Macaroons, pancakes, crepes, ice creams, etc. flowing through a 38 meter long conveyor

All you can eat sweets with drinks included within 40 minutes cost 1,800 yen

Cafe Ron Ron in Harajuku, Japan is the first of this kind of restaurant delivering sweets to the customers using a rotating conveyor, similar to the popular conveyor belt sushi restaurants.

Can a Daily Cup of Tea Do a Heart Good?

The latest study on the coffee alternative suggests at least a cup a day may help your body cling to heart-helping “good cholesterol” as you age.

Previous research has suggested more tea may significantly lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in arteries.

What’s uncertain is tea’s effect on high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the healthy cholesterol that helps eliminate LDL. Some studies found that tea significantly increased HDL, while others found no consequence at all.

But tea appears to slow the natural decrease in HDL that occurs during aging, according to the new study published June 25 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study monitored more than 80,000 people from the Kailuan community of Tangshan, China, over a six-year period. It found regular tea drinkers had a slower age-related decrease in HDL levels. That decline was linked to an eventual 8 percent decrease in cardiovascular risk among those in the study.

Green tea had a slightly stronger effect than black tea, but both are full of polyphenols and catechins, two antioxidant compounds recognized for their anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers did not collect data on coffee, which is not popular in that area of China.

The link between greater tea consumption and slower HDL decreases appeared most pronounced in men and in people age 60 and older who typically had higher heart disease risk factors such as tobacco use, larger body mass index and low physical activity levels.

“We still observed a significant association in these people, which suggests that the observed association cannot be totally interpreted by someone’s overall healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Xiang Gao, the senior author of the study’s report and director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at Pennsylvania State University.

There were several limitations to the study, though.

For example, the findings were based on self-reported information about weekly or monthly tea consumption and did not reflect whether people drank more than one cup a day. The study also lacked key dietary information, including details about intake of fruits, vegetables, meat and whole grains.

In addition, the study examined people from a specific community in China that isn’t representative of the nation’s population at large.

“However, the results represent a large cohort of individuals living in China who have a wide range of tea intakes and a low intake of coffee,” the study’s authors noted.

Getting a similar sampling of tea drinkers elsewhere would be difficult, said Judith Wylie-Rosett, a professor and division head for health promotion and nutrition research in the department of epidemiology and population health department at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Wylie-Rosett, who wasn’t associated with the study, credited it for taking “a cautious approach to endorsing the benefits” of tea consumption, as well as examining the impact on HDL levels.

“We don’t tend to talk much about the decline in HDL cholesterol with age, and our main lifestyle strategies for trying to increase it are vigorous physical activity and losing weight,” she said.

Overall, Wylie-Rosett described the study as “one of those nice stories that people who drink tea feel good about, but it doesn’t really change a whole lot of anything other than help researchers think about the next study they need to do.”

Because of inconclusive results in tea studies, neither the American Heart Association nor the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans make recommendations about how much of the beverage to consume.

Source: HealthDay

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Video: World’s Most Expensive Milkshake!

Available for ordering starting Wednesday 20 June, known as National Vanilla Milkshake Day in the US, Serendipity 3’s LUXE Milkshake has set the new Guinness World Records with a value of $100 USD.

Watch video at You Tube (2:18 minutes) . . . . .

Drinking Alcohol Can Raise Cancer Risk. How Much Is Too Much?

Allison Aubrey wrote . . . . . . . . .

A little bit of alcohol has been shown to be protective of heart health. But how does drinking influence cancer risk?

A new study finds that light drinkers have the lowest combined risk of developing cancer and dying prematurely — even lower than people who don’t drink at all. But here’s the rub: In this study, “light” drinking is defined as one to five drinks per week.

“It seems to reassure light drinkers,” says study co-author Andrew Kunzmann, a researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.

Researchers studied about 100,000 adults who lived in cities across the U.S., including Birmingham, Ala.; Boulder, Colo.; Los Angeles; and Pittsburgh. The participants were in their mid-50s to early 70s when the study began, and they each completed a survey about their alcohol consumption. Researchers tracked their health for about nine years, and they found that the more a person drank, the higher their risk of getting cancer and dying.

“We definitely think [the findings] give a bigger picture of what’s going on,” Kunzmann says. For this study, he collaborated with researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. The study is published in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine.

The study adds to the evidence that cancer risk may rise when people drink more than one drink per day, but the increase is modest. Moderate drinkers in the study had about a 10 percent increased risk of getting cancer.

Not surprisingly, the study finds that heavy drinkers are most at risk. For instance, men who drank three or more drinks per day were three to four times more likely to develop cancer of the esophagus and liver cancer. Other alcohol-related cancers include colorectal cancer and breast cancer in women.

“This study reinforces [the evidence] that people who drink a lot have higher rates of cancer and higher rates of dying from those cancers,” says Noelle LoConte, an oncologist and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin. She was not involved in the study, but NPR asked her to review the evidence.

The study comes at a time when the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a group of cancer doctors, is trying to spread awareness about the risks of excessive alcohol consumption. LoConte is the lead author of the group’s recent statement calling for policies aimed at reducing alcohol consumption.

“We’re not proponents of complete abstinence. There probably is an amount of drinking that’s OK,” LoConte says. “But from a cancer-prevention standpoint, drinking the least amount of alcohol possible would be the best strategy.”

Many studies have pointed to the risks of excessive drinking, yet “we do not think that most Americans are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer,” LoConte says.

Most people know that too much sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer and that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. But a survey done by ASCO last year found that 7 in 10 adults did not recognize drinking alcohol as a risk factor for cancer.

When it comes to the lifestyle factors and habits that people can control — or change — to reduce their risk of disease, alcohol is pretty high up on the list. “Alcohol is estimated to be the third-largest modifiable risk factor for cancer,” says Susan Gapstur, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society.

About 19 percent of cancers are linked to smoking, 8 percent are linked to obesity or excess body weight — and about 5 percent are linked to alcohol.

Alcohol is also estimated to be the third-largest contributor to overall cancer deaths in both men and women, Gapstur says. “Strikingly, alcohol is estimated to account for 39,060 breast cancers [in the U.S.] per year in women,” she says.

One step toward cutting back is to be more aware — and more realistic — about how much you drink. “The first thing we need to talk about is: What is a drink?” says LoConte.

A drink is a single shot of liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. It’s easy to consume more than you realize. Some mixed drinks contain multiple shots of liquor, and some craft beers have higher concentrations of alcohol.

Current guidelines recommend that women consume no more than one drink per day, and men consume no more than two drinks per day.

But LoConte says this may turn out to be too much. “I think this study, as I reviewed it, looked like a safer amount would be one drink a day for everybody, regardless of gender,” LoConte says.

At least that’s what the study suggests. More research is underway.

Source: npr