Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dairy Controversy? Here are the data

Check this out.


I did a very simple thing. I just looked at the heart disease rate in 17 countries (heart disease per 100,000 people).


Then, I found the average amount of dairy foods that these people are eating, per person, per year. 


Below, you will see the graphs of three kinds of dairy products, and the full data set is down at the bottom of this post for:

Milk Products ... Cheese ... and Butter.


The question is this. Does more dairy consumption lead to more heart disease? 


For the answer, on a population basis, check out these graphs. As consumption increases, what you see is that heart disease is either flat (does not increase), OR that it actually trends downward (is reduced). 


Maybe that's because dairy products are associated with a reduction of the bad cholesterol, LDL.

Here is the study.

This very simple assessment strongly argues against the idea that dairy is bad for your heart. By the way, if you compare dairy consumption with calcium supplementation (Here is the study), it's the pills that increase the risk of myocardial infarction ... not dairy. 


And I am very well aware that this is a correlation only, and a causal link needs to be verified through double blind trials blah blah blah. 


But honestly, it's really hard to argue against this kind of straightforward analysis, and say that increasing dairy leads to increasing heart disease rates. 



Country Liquid Milk Drinks (Litres) Cheeses (kg) Butter (kg) Heart Disease Rate
Sweden 145.5 18.5 1 71
Ireland 129.8 10.5 2.9 79.2
Netherlands 122.9 20.4 3.3 39.8
Norway 116.7 16 4.3 57.2
Spain (2005) 119.1 9.6 1 43.5
Switzerland 112.5 22.2 5.6 52.2
United Kingdom 111.2 12.2 3.7 68.8
Australia 106.3 11.7 3.7 60.3
Canada  94.7 12.2 3.3 66.2
Germany 92.3 22.4 6.4 75
France 92.2 23.9 7.3 29.2
New Zealand 90 7.1 6.3 76.5
United States 83.9 16 2.1 80.5
Austria 80.2 18.8 4.3 72.7
Greece 69 28.9 0.7 60.3
Argentina  65.8 10.7 0.7 70.6
Italy 57.3 23.7 2.8 51.7

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