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Does Consuming Milk Increase Your Cholesterol Levels? Find Out

Does Consuming Milk Increase Your Cholesterol Levels?

A new research of 2 million adults found that drinking milk is not a risk factor for cardiovascular disease but may increase BMI.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like molecule found in all your body's cells. Your body needs cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D, and chemicals that aid in digestion. Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) are the two forms of cholesterol (HDL). HDL cholesterol is referred to be "good" cholesterol. It aids in the removal of harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream so that it may be removed by the body. LDL cholesterol is referred to as "bad" cholesterol.

When there is too much of it in the blood, it causes plaque to form on the artery walls of the heart and brain. If left untreated, plaque accumulation can lead to heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. There are many factors that contribute to high cholesterol levels in a person, and what you eat is one of the most important factors. Consuming milk is also believed to be one of the factors, but a new study suggests otherwise.

No Link Between Milk And Increased Cholesterol

People suffering from high cholesterol often give up on milk, thinking that it is the primary cause of the problem. But new research has found that regular consumption of milk does not increase cholesterol levels.

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Reports suggest that while eliminating unhealthy fats from your diet is crucial to reducing high cholesterol, it is not necessary to completely get rid of milk to make it more cholesterol friendly. According to the research published in the International Journal of Obesity found that there is no link between consuming milk and increased cholesterol levels.

Key Findings

For the study, the team examined three large population studies. The team conducted a meta-analysis of data in up to 1.9 million people and used the genetic approach to avoid confounding. They discovered that those who drank a lot of milk had lower levels of both good and bad cholesterol, even when their BMI was greater than non-milk drinkers. A review of previous major studies found that people who drank milk daily had a 14% decreased risk of coronary artery disease. The researchers used a genetic approach to milk intake by looking at a mutation in the lactase gene, which is involved in the digestion of milk sugars known as lactose. The study discovered that having the genetic variant where people can digest lactose was an excellent means of identifying those who consumed more milk.

As per the UK biobank data, those with the lactase genetic variant had an 11% decreased chance of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the study did not find any strong evidence suggesting that there is a connection between higher milk intake and the onset of diseases like diabetes, inflammatory biomarkers and more.

According to Prof Vimal Karani, Professor of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics at the University of Reading, people with a genetic mutation linked that the researchers associated with higher milk intake had a greater BMI and body fat, but lower levels of good and bad cholesterol. He further explained that those who have the genetic variant had a considerably decreased risk of coronary heart disease. All of this shows that limiting milk consumption may not be required for avoiding cardiovascular disease.

(with inputs from agencies)

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