Milk Lovers May Live Longer Because of Decreased Disease Risk
By Albertina Torsoli
July 22 (Bloomberg) -- The secret to a longer life may be
this simple -- milk.
Drinking milk can lessen the chances of dying from
illnesses such as heart disease and stroke by as much as 20
percent, researchers led by Peter Elwood at Cardiff University
and Ian Givens from the University of Reading said today in a
statement distributed by the AlphaGalileo Web site.
Cow's milk provides calcium, potassium, protein, and
vitamin D, but also sugars and saturated fat and is often
portrayed as an unhealthy choice, the researchers said. The
study, based on evidence from 324 studies of milk consumption as
predictors of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes, found
that health benefits associated with the drink outweigh dangers.
"Our findings clearly show that when the numbers of deaths
from coronary heart disease, stroke and colorectal cancer were
take into account, there is strong evidence of an overall
reduction in the risk of dying from these chronic diseases due
to milk consumption," Givens said in the statement. "There is
convincing overall evidence that milk consumption is associated
with an increase in survival in Western communities."
Coronary heart disease causes arteries to harden and narrow
because of plaque. Heart disease causes about 27 percent of all
deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. It's the number one killer worldwide, according
to the Geneva-based World Health Organization.
Increased milk consumption is also likely to reduce health
care costs "substantially," due to reduced chronic disease,
the researchers said.
"There is an urgent need to understand the mechanisms
involved and for focused studies to confirm the epidemiological
evidence since this topic has major implications for the agri-
food industry," Givens said.
The research was funded by the universities that led the
study, Givens said in an e-mail.