Milk may cut risk of heart attack

February 15, 1991|By Medical Tribune News Service

A glass of milk a day may keep the heart doctor away, says a new British study.

A 10-year study of 5,000 British men between the ages of 45 and 59 found that only 1 percent of men who drank at least a pint of whole milk a day suffered heart attacks.

In contrast, 10 percent of the non-milk drinkers in the study had heart attacks, said lead researcher Dr. Peter Elwood of the Medical Research Council's epidemiology unit at Llandough Hospital in Penarth, South Glamorgan, Wales.

The results of the study are scheduled to be published in the the March issue of the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

As many as 1.5 million Americans have heart attacks each year, resulting in 500,000 deaths, according to the American Heart Association.

Once considered forbidden for people on low-fat diets, milk may actually lower the risk of heart disease.

Milk may contain an ingredient that has a cholesterol-lowering effect, said Ann Fehily, a nutritionist who worked on the study.

The results run counter to earlier studies suggesting that since milk is high in saturated fat, it would increase the risk of heart disease.

Fehily said that the lifestyles of milk-drinking men might also lower their heart-disease risk. "It is likely that people who choose to drink a lot of milk are different than those who choose not to," she said.

"They might be more physically active or have other differences in lifestyle."

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