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Fermented dairy products can protect against heart attack



Fermented dairy products can protect against heart attacks, according to a new study by the University of Eastern Finland. Sour milk was the most commonly used low-fat fermented milk product among study participants. Picture credits: Raija Törrönen

Men who consume many fermented dairy products are at lower risk for coronary heart disease than men who eat less, according to a new study by the University of Eastern Finland. However, very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The results were published in the British Journal of Nutrition .

Previous studies have shown that fermented dairy products have more positive effects on the blood lipid profile and risk of heart disease than other dairy products. Examples of fermented milk products include cheese, yoghurt, quark, kefir and sour milk. However, research on this topic is still rare.

The Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk study at the University of Eastern Finland investigated the associations of fermented and non-fermented milk products with the risk of coronary heart disease. About 2,000 men participated in the study. Their dietary habits were studied at the beginning of the study in the years 1

984-1989 and followed up for an average of 20 years. At this follow-up, 472 men experienced an incident with coronary heart disease.

The study participants were categorized according to how much they ate different dairy products, and the researchers compared the groups with the highest and lowest consumption, taking into account different lifestyle and nutritional factors.

When subjects were divided into four groups due to their intake of fermented milk products with less than 3.5 percent fat, the risk of coronary heart disease was 26 percent lower in the highest-consuming group compared to the lowest-consuming group , Sour milk was the most commonly used low-fat fermented milk product. The consumption of high-fat fermented dairy products, such as cheese, was not associated with the risk of coronary heart disease.

The researchers found, however, that a very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products was associated with an increase in risk of coronary heart disease. Milk was the most used product in this category, and very high consumption was defined as the average daily milk intake of 0.9 liters. A lower consumption was not associated with the risk.

"Here in Finland, people's habits of consuming different dairy products have changed in recent decades, with consumption of milk and sour milk, for example, decreasing while many dairy products have been fermented, such as yoghurt, quark and cheese won, "says Adjunct Professor Jyrki Virtanen of the University of Eastern Finland.

The new study provides more evidence of the health benefits that fermented dairy products may have over non-fermented ones. All mechanisms are not yet understood, but they may be related to compounds that form during the fermentation process.


Explore further:
Current advice on limiting milk intake should be reconsidered

Further information:
Timo T. Koskinen et al., Recording Fermented and Non-Fermented Dairy and KHK Event: The Kuopio Ischemic Risk Factor for Heart Disease, British Journal of Nutrition (2018). DOI: 10.1017 / S0007114518002830

Magazine Reference:
British Journal of Nutrition

Provided by:
University of Eastern Finland


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