We are going to begin this article with some explanations that will hopefully simplify a very complex subject. It is the subject of food matrix and the interaction of foods, supplements and nutrients. Many of you are aware of the complex nature of nutrients and how some nutrients are needed to help absorb other nutrients. It is understood that Calcium gets absorbed better when vitamin D is present. Vitamin B12 and folate demonstrate this complex matrix possibly the best. Vitamin B12 and folate (vitamin B-9) work together to produce red blood cells, prevent anemia, they metabolize homocysteine (to prevent heart disease from meat consumption). Yet vitamin B12 itself comes from meat and animal proteins and folate comes from vegetable sources. So in theory meat is best eaten with green leafy vegetables.
So now we have a base understanding of the interacting of nutrients under the idea of a complex food matrix.
Dairy fat may not negatively impact cardiovascular disease risk factors when consumed in foods with a complex matrix
Now let’s look at a July 2021 study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. (1) The summary is this: Dietary guidelines traditionally recommend low-fat dairy because dairy’s high saturated fat content is thought to promote cardiovascular disease. However, emerging evidence indicates that dairy fat may not negatively impact cardiovascular disease risk factors when consumed in foods with a complex matrix. (The complex matrix being the mix of nutrients and food types we just spoke about.)
In this randomized controlled trial, 72 participants with metabolic syndrome completed a 4-week run-in period, limiting their dairy intake to less than three servings a week of nonfat milk. Participants were then randomly assigned to 1 of 3 diets, either continuing the limited-dairy diet or switching to a diet containing 3.3 servings a day of either low-fat or full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese for 12 weeks.
What were the researchers looking for? Changes in the fasting lipid profile and blood pressure.
What did they find? In men and women with metabolic syndrome, a diet rich in full-fat dairy had no effects on fasting lipid profile or blood pressure compared with diets limited in dairy or rich in low-fat dairy. Therefore, dairy fat, when consumed as part of complex whole foods, does not adversely impact these classic cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Reduction in the risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes with milk, cheese and yogurt.
We see many patients with various food sensitives and food allergies. What we are discussing in this article are general observations. At the Magaziner Center, we believe in balancing cholesterol levels naturally, and that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for high cholesterol and cardiovascular health. We take the time to look at each patient’s unique biochemistry and specific contributing factors.
A paper published in July 2021 in the journal Cardiovascular research (2) summarized updated evidence on cardiovascular disease risk associated with consumption of specific food items to help guide dietary strategies for atherosclerosis prevention. Here is the evidence presented:
The evidence is highly concordant in showing that, for the healthy adult population, low consumption of salt and foods of animal origin, and increased intake of plant-based foods-whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts-are linked with reduced atherosclerosis risk.
The same applies for the replacement of butter and other animal/tropical fats with olive oil and other unsaturated-fat-rich oil.
Although the literature reviewed overall endorses scientific society dietary recommendations, some relevant novelties emerge. With regard to meat, new evidence differentiates processed and red meat-both associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk risk-from poultry, showing a neutral relationship with cardiovascular disease risk for moderate intakes.
The preferential use of low-fat dairy food in the healthy population is not supported by recent data, since both full-fat and low-fat dairies, in moderate amounts and in the context of a balanced diet, are not associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk risk; furthermore, small quantities of cheese and regular yogurt consumption are even linked with a protective effect.
A December 2020 paper in the journal Current opinion in lipidology (x) “focused on recent research relevant to effects of dietary patterns and major food groups on cardiovascular outcomes, taking into account guidelines and position statements from expert authorities, with an emphasis on important changes in recommendations, some of which remain controversial.
Major findings include: refocusing on qualitative patterns of food consumption replacing quantitative prescriptive advice on nutrients; increasing intake of plant foods; substituting saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils; reducing salt intake; regular consumption of fish with a focus on omega-3 enrichment; not restricting dairy foods, other than butter and cream, with encouragement of some fermented products; reducing cholesterol intake for those at increased cardiovascular risk and diabetes, allowing 7-eggs weekly; restricting processed meats and allowing moderate lean meat consumption; preference for fiber-rich complex carbohydrates and reduced sugar intake; maintaining healthy bodyweight; and although water is the preferred beverage, allowing moderate alcohol consumption to national guidelines and avoiding alcohol in specific cardiovascular disorders.”
These very recent studies have shown us what we have observed in our patients in more than 33 years of clinical observation. No single diet works for everyone, many food recommendations, such as maintaining a NO fat diet were not helpful as a general guideline, among other “outdated recommendations.” While dietary and nutritional recommendations are important parts of a wellness program, they are indeed only parts.
The Magaziner Center for Wellness has been at the forefront of integrative healthcare for more than 30 years. We utilize the best non toxic remedies and modalities to improve your well-being and to solve your health concerns, combining conventional, alternative, naturopathic, functional and holistic therapies.We emphasize treating you as a the whole person, including the physical, psychological and emotional aspects. We pay attention to what makes you, uniquely you.
1 Schmidt KA, Cromer G, Burhans MS, et al. Impact of low-fat and full-fat dairy foods on fasting lipid profile and blood pressure: exploratory endpoints of a randomized controlled trial [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jul 13]. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021;nqab131. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqab131
2 Riccardi G, Giosuè A, Calabrese I, Vaccaro O. Dietary recommendations for prevention of atherosclerosis. Cardiovascular Research. 2021 Jul 6.
3 Nestel PJ, Beilin LJ, Mori TA. Changing dietary approaches to prevent cardiovascular disease. Current Opinion in Lipidology. 2020 Dec 1;31(6):313-23.