According to the CDC heart disease is the #1 killer in America killing about 600,000 people every year. Risk factors for heart disease can include poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, among others. Focusing specifically on diet, most will acknowledge that consuming fried and/or sugary foods and high fat meats are the culprits for the high incidence of heart disease in America. While this is true, most people fail to realize the role milk and milk products (dairy) play in contributing to heart disease. Foods high in fat contribute to higher obesity, higher cholesterol, and higher blood pressure. Interestingly enough, dairy products are among some of the fattiest food options on the market and in America, we consume plenty of dairy.
According to USDA data the daily average dairy consumption for Americans is about 26 oz. or 1.625 lbs. per person. Stretching the consumption out over year, every American averages about 600 lbs. of dairy every year. About 30 of those pounds come from cheese, 24 from ice cream, and 23 from milk. Cheese, ice cream and milk are all generally fat and cholesterol rich. High fat, high cholesterol foods are tough to digest. This means its easier for fat and cholesterol to stick around in your body increasing bad cholesterol and the chances of arterial blockages. As stated previously, the CDC lists high cholesterol as a risk factor for heart disease.
The science says that as dairy consumption is reduced so is the risk for heart disease. A 2002 study found that when countries reduced their dairy consumption, their rates of heart disease deaths were also lower. The same study also showed that if dairy consumption is increased, heart disease deaths increase.
So what about non-fat dairy products, that's OK right? Well I am glad you asked because I can happily say NO, its not alright. Eliminating fat from dairy products may reduce negative health consequences related to fat but you still have to deal with the sugar. According to a 1998 study by Dr. William B Grant of NASA, milk carbohydrates (sugar) are highly correlated to heart disease. Dr. Grant found that sugar from bovine milk is a significant contributor to atherosclerosis, which is a major contributor to heart disease.
Well milk protein is good for you, it can't be bad can it? Once again, I'm glad you asked and in this instance I can gladly say YES, it can be bad. In a 2004 study about the effect milk protein has on human health it was found that beta casein protein is a significant contributor to heart disease. The study compared 20 different countries and the countries with the highest A1 beta casein consumption had the highest incidence of heart disease.