BACKGROUND: Food-based dietary guidelines recommend replacement of whole-fat dairy products with low-fat variants based on data suggesting that diets high in saturated fat are associated with a higher risk of ischemic heart disease. However, the health effects of saturated fat may depend on the source.
OBJECTIVES: The aim was to investigate substitutions between different subgroups of dairy products and the risk of myocardial infarction (MI).
METHODS: Data were from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort and included 54,903 men and women aged 50-64 y at enrollment and without an MI diagnosis. Information about intake of dairy products was obtained by a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Incident MI cases were identified through nationwide registries. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate associations between specified substitutions of dairy products and MI risk.
RESULTS: During a median follow-up of 15.9 y, 3033 cases were identified. Whole-fat yogurt products in place of low-fat or whole-fat milk were associated with a lower risk of MI (HR: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.80, 0.99 per 200 g/d replaced; and HR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.78, 0.98 per 200 g/d replaced, respectively). Substitution of 20 g/d of cheese for 200 g/d of low-fat or whole-fat milk was also associated with a lower risk of MI (HR: 0.96; 95% CI: 0.92, 0.99; and HR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.89, 0.99, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Among middle-aged Danish men and women, intake of whole-fat yogurt products or cheese in place of milk, regardless of fat content, was associated with a lower risk of development of MI.