London: A new research has found that eating a diet rich in cheese and yoghurt may not increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The research challenges the widely held belief that dairy products can damage health.
Scientists at the University of Reading in the UK conducted the largest analysis of population cohort studies, representing almost a million participants and over 93,000 deaths.
The meta-analysis of 29 prospective cohort studies found that overall, diets high in dairy products, did not lead to any increased occurrence of heart disease and stroke or death.
Jing Guo, a nutrition scientist at the University of Reading said, "This latest analysis provides further evidence that a diet that is high in dairy foods is not necessarily damaging to health."
Guo said,"The number of participants in particular gives us a really clear global picture of the neutral association of dairy on heart disease risk."
It also provides "some indications about the potentially beneficial effect of fermented dairy on heart health, although further studies are needed to confirm this," said Guo.
The research supports previous findings that dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yoghurts, can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Professor Julie Lovegrove, Head of the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, University of Reading said, "We will now be investigating the possible ways that dairy foods may impact health."
The findings was published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.
(With PTI inputs)