A Poorly-Designed Dairy-Industry-Sponsored Study Tried To Conclude That Eating Dairy Was Good For You

Brie5Here’s a very small (14 women), short-duration (2 weeks) study that was funded by several international dairy groups.

Diets With High-Fat Cheese, High-Fat Meat, Or Carbohydrate On Cardiovascular Risk Markers In Overweight Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Crossover Trial, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2015

Conclusions: Diets with cheese and meat as primary sources of SFAs [saturated fatty acids] cause higher HDL cholesterol and apo A-I and, therefore, appear to be less atherogenic than is a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.


Supported 50% by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation and the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (Denmark) and 50% by the Dairy Research Institute (United States), the Dairy Farmers of Canada (Canada), the Centre National Interprofessionel de l’Economie Laitière [Dairy] (France), Dairy Australia (Australia), and the Nederlandse Zuivel [Dairy] Organisatie (Netherlands).

Higher HDL is not always an indication of better health. For instance, in an inflammatory environment (often when someone is overweight), when C-reactive protein (CRP) is high, a higher HDL can increase risk for heart attack:

Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Polymorphism (TaqIB) Associates With Risk in Postinfarction Patients With High C-Reactive Protein and High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels, Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, May 2010

More “Good” Cholesterol Is Not Always Good For Your Health; HDL Cholesterol Can Transform From Good To Bad Actor In Heart Disease Process, University of Rochester Medical Center Press Release, May 2010

This dairy study was too small, too short-lived, and lacked the kind of data collection that could help establish cause, that is, whether eating a “high-fat cheese (96-120g)” diet or a “high-fat processed and unprocessed meat” diet protects against the development of atherosclerosis, or, more to the point, protects against a heart attack. It would be telling to follow these women for, say, 10 years on these high-fat cheese diets to see how protective they were.

3 thoughts on “A Poorly-Designed Dairy-Industry-Sponsored Study Tried To Conclude That Eating Dairy Was Good For You

  1. Bix Post author

    This seems so unethical to me. It’s tantamount to an advertisement for dairy food, cheese, in the guise of science, in a peer-reviewed study in a professional journal. People will run with this, the media will blow it up, “eat a cup of high-fat cheese every day and” … what, live longer? That’s the implication. That’s not what they found. It’s such a ruse.

    The people eating the low fat, high-carb diet weren’t eating a low-fat, high-carb diet. If they were their total cholesterol and LDL would have dropped.


  2. Dan Hunter

    I just stumbled on your website while trying to learn more about the old 1929 African blood pressure study that Greger mentioned.

    Great stuff here! I too have come to a plant-based whole food diet after years of study/experiment.

    Thank you for your contribution.



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