A narrative has long circulated about dairy’s perceived link to higher mortality rates.
Consider that myth busted.
Research funded by National Dairy Council (NDC) used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine the relationship between dairy intake and mortality. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the relationship between dairy intake and mortality using NHANES and CDC’s National Death Index, a centralized registry of all U.S. deaths.
The findings, following the examination of more than 46,000 deaths, conclude that dairy foods are not linked to all-cause and cancer mortality in U.S. adults, but dairy food consumption is associated with reduced risk of heart disease mortality. While NDC sponsored the research, it is important to note we did not play a role in the study’s design, nor in the collection, analyses or interpretation of the data.
The study is published in Nutrients, a peer-reviewed scientific journal widely read by nutrition scientists and health and wellness professionals across the U.S. and globally.
The results already have been presented at scientific meetings and conferences to thought leader groups. In addition, they will be part of the scientific evidence that NDC shares during the public comment process for consideration in the next update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2025.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans already state healthy eating patterns that include dairy foods are linked with lower chronic disease risk and lower risk of mortality. Moreover, numerous studies have shown that dairy foods are linked with lower risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease risk.
Our new findings further strengthen this evidence by showing dairy also is associated with a reduced risk for heart disease mortality, while there is no link between dairy consumption and all-cause or cancer mortality risk in adults 19 and older.
Additionally, we will work on strategies to bring this message to the media and consumer audiences in partnership with our state and regional checkoff network to help battle misperceptions and drive home dairy’s scientifically supported benefits.
I look at NDC’s and farmers’ commitment to research as our way of constantly adding pieces to a puzzle. This important finding is one more piece that builds the case for dairy, while refuting myths along the way.