Look away now, vegans. Cheese and fish are essential for a healthy diet, experts now emphasize.
Researchers named full-fat dairy one of six foods “key” to reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Fish, nuts, legumes and vegetables were also added to the list after a large analysis involving nearly 250,000 people.
Despite being linked to cancer and heart problems in recent years, red meat has also been said to be a healthy diet, as long as it is eaten in moderation.
Full-fat dairy products may also help protect against premature death, scientists say. The findings come amid the rise of an anti-dairy diet, with proponents warning that whole milk, butter and cheese are high in calories and saturated fat and can lead to a cluster of health problems.
Red unprocessed meat and other animal products also have ‘little material effect’ on health, according to the same study. Officials have spent years trying to encourage dietary changes – NHS guidelines recommend people limit themselves to 70g of red meat a day – the equivalent of one lamb chop, one pork sausage, half a beef burger or one and a half slices of meat. bacon
However, they argued that the logic only applied to unprocessed meats, as opposed to bacon and sausages.
Coordinated by the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, the results were then compared to five large independent studies from 70 countries.
In the European Heart Journal they write that an optimal healthy diet, called PURE, consists of three to four weekly servings of legumes, seven servings of nuts, two to three servings of fish and 14 servings of full-fat dairy – including milk, yogurt or cheese.
“Moderate amounts” — or one serving per day — of whole grains and unprocessed meats can also be consumed, researchers said.
This could be a slice of bread, half a cup of cooked rice, barley, or quinoa, and about 2 ounces (85 g) of cooked red meat or poultry.
The study’s lead author, Dr Andrew Mente, said: ‘Low-fat foods are at the forefront of the public, the food industry and policy makers, with nutrition labels aimed at reducing fat and saturated fat.
‘Our findings suggest that the priority should be to increase protective foods such as nuts, which are often avoided because they are too high in energy, fish and dairy products, rather than limiting dairy, especially full-fat, to very low amounts.
‘Our results show that up to two servings of dairy, mainly full-fat, can be included in a healthy diet per day.’
Writing in the European Heart Journal, they said an optimal healthy diet, called PURE, includes three to four weekly servings of legumes, seven nuts, two to three fish and 14 servings of mostly full-fat dairy ? including milk, yogurt or cheese. . ‘Moderate amounts’ ? or one serving a day ? of whole grains and unprocessed meats can also be consumed, researchers say
He added: “This is consistent with modern nutritional science showing that dairy, particularly whole grains, may protect against high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.”
Each participant was assigned a healthy eating score between zero and six, with a score of five or more than five appearing to have a lower risk of mortality.
The calculations also took into account age, gender, waist-to-hip ratio, education level, income, urban or rural location, physical activity, smoking status, diabetes, use of statins or high blood pressure medications, and total energy intake.
What are the risks of eating too much red meat?
Red meat — such as beef, lamb and pork — and processed meat — such as bacon, sausages and charcuterie — have been linked to health complications.
Health officials therefore advise adults to reduce their intake to 70 g per day and not to exceed 90 g.
The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends consuming no more than three servings of red meat per week.
It also urges us to ‘avoid’ processed meats.
Processed meat often contains nitrogen-based preservatives that prevent it from spoiling during transportation or storage.
These preservatives have been linked to both colon and stomach cancer.
When red meat is digested, the pigment haem is broken down in our intestines to form chemicals called N-nitroso compounds.
These compounds have been found to damage the DNA of cells lining our digestive tract, which could cause cancer.
Our body can also respond to this damage by dividing cells more quickly to replace the lost ones.
This ‘extra’ cell division can increase the risk of cancer.
Red and processed meats have also been linked to type 2 diabetes.
This may be due to the preservatives used or the higher content of saturated fat in the meat than chicken and fish.
The mean diet score was 2.95. During an average follow-up of 9.3 years, there were 15,707 deaths and 40,764 heart attacks and strokes.
Those with the healthiest nutritional score of five or more were 30 percent less likely to die during the study period than peers who passed just one or fewer.
They were also 19, 18 and 14 percent less likely to have a stroke, cardiovascular disease or heart attack.
Dr. Mente added: ‘This was by far the most diverse study of nutrition and health outcomes in the world and the only one with sufficient representation from high, middle and low income countries.
‘The association between the PURE diet and health outcomes was found in generally healthy people, patients with CVD, patients with diabetes and across different economies.
He said: “The associations were strongest in areas with the poorest quality diet, including South Asia, China and Africa, where caloric intake was low and dominated by refined carbohydrates.”
CVD, which includes heart attacks and strokes, kills more people worldwide than any other disease.
The World Health Organization estimates that 18 million people die from the condition each year, accounting for more than 30 percent of all global deaths.
In the United States, CVD contributes to every one of every five deaths — or about 697,000 — each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimates.
It is also estimated to have cost the country about $229 billion between 2017 and 2018.
In the UK, CVD is responsible for a quarter of all deaths, or about 160,000 deaths each year.
According to the British Heart Foundation, the total annual cost of cardiovascular disease care in England is ?7.4 billion.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a nutritionist at Tufts University in Boston who was not involved in the study, said: “The new results in PURE, combined with previous reports, call for a re-evaluation of relentless guidelines to avoid full-fat dairy products. to avoid. Products.’
He added: ?Studies such as those by Mente and colleagues remind us of the continued and devastating rise in diet-related chronic diseases worldwide, and of the power of protective foods to address these burdens.
?It is time for national dietary guidelines, private sector innovations, government tax policies and agricultural incentives, food purchasing policies, labeling and other regulatory priorities, and food-based health care interventions to catch up with science. Millions of lives depend on it.’
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
? Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
? Basic meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains
? 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat muesli biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and a large baked potato with skin
? Provide dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options
? Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)
? Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities
? Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day
? Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide