association between dairy intake and mortality

A recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, investigated the association between dairy product intake and mortality.

Consumption of dairy products, including milk and cheese, has been controversial in terms of health effects, leaving consumers confused as to whether their favourite dairy products are good or bad for their health. As part of the Italian cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition – aka. the EPIC study – researchers specifically investigated whether consuming dairy was associated with the risk of mortality.

Taking into account age and sex, and adjusting for other potentially confounding factors, they reported that 59% of the followed patients died from cancer, and 19% from cardiovascular disease. However, they found no significant association between any type of dairy intake with mortality. When looking specifically at milk intake, they found a 25% reduction in the risk of mortality from all causes. This was true of intake of less than 200g/d, however not when intake was over 200g/d, when compared with no milk at all. Similar results were reported regardless of whether the milk was reduced fat or not.

Takeaway: ‘Low to average’ milk intake, or intake of any other dairy food, was not associated with mortality.

Reference: Valeria Pala, Sabina Sieri, Paolo Chiodini, Giovanna Masala, Domenico Palli,Amalia Mattiello, Salvatore Panico, Rosario Tumino, Graziella Frasca, Francesca Fasanelli, Fulvio Ricceri, Claudia Agnoli, Sara Grioni, Vittorio Krogh. (2019). Associations of dairy product consumption with mortality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)–Italy cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nqz183,

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