Drinking full fat (or dark-blue-top, any-brand milk for us kiwis) may help you live longer. Cheers to that!

Drinking milk may help reduce a person’s likelihood of facing death due to cardiovascular conditions like stroke and coronary heart disease, according to a new Australian study . The 16-year follow up study looking at dairy food intake and mortality found that both full-fat and low-fat dairy foods were not associated with death from any cause.

The study showed that full-fat dairy was associated with less cardiovascular death. People who ate the most full-fat dairy had a 69 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular death than those who ate the least when other factors were taken into account. The authors suggested that while full fat dairy foods contribute to saturated fat intake there may be other fat components that counterbalance the expected negative effect.

Dairy Australia dietitian Glenys Zucco said, “Contrary to popular belief, full-fat dairy, including milk and cheese, has never been convincingly linked to cardiovascular disease. In fact, it has rather consistently been linked to a lower risk, particularly for stroke.”

The study was conducted by experts from the Queensland institute of Medical Research and looked at the health of 1529 adult Australians whose habitual dietary intake was assessed on three occasions: at baseline in 1992, again in 1994 and in 1996. Usual intake of dairy food, calcium and vitamin D were calculated and compared with information from the National Death Index.

The results are consistent with a recent scientific review by Professor Peter Elwood which showed that milk drinkers have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who drink little or no milk, despite the fact that most of the milk consumed was regular fat milk.

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