Study: No link between milk consumption and obesity

Research suggests those regularly consuming milk at lower risk of heart disease

For those of you who enjoy the odd pint of milk, you can rest easy. New research of more than two million people has revealed that there appears to be no link between regular consumption of milk and increased levels of cholesterol.

According to a new paper which has been published in the International Journal of Obesity, a closer inspection of three large population studies found that people regularly drinking high amounts of milk had lower levels of good and bad cholesterol and a 14% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Following several contradictory research pieces looking into the casual link between dairy intake and cardiometabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, the new study was undertaken using a meta-analysis of data and genetic approach. This time researchers looked at a variation in the lactase gene which is associated with digestion of milk sugar. They were able to confirm that having a genetic variation where people can digest lactose made it easier to identify people who consumed higher levels of milk.

Prof Vimal Karani, Professor of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics at the University of Reading, explained that although those with a genetic variation associated with higher milk intake had a higher BMI, they had lower levels of good and bad cholesterol.

“The study certainly shows that milk consumption is not a significant issue for cardiovascular disease risk even though there was a small rise in BMI and body fat among milk drinkers,” he added. “What we do note in the study is that it remains unclear whether it is the fat content in dairy products that is contributing to the lower cholesterol levels or it is due to an unknown ‘milk factor’”.

This post is part of our #OrraniFridays series on Facebook.