Of course, this information is contrary to much of what we have been told (i.e., current dietary recommendations suggest eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and/or nonfat dairy, choosing lean meats like chicken or fish and avoiding red meat and full-fat dairy products). However, the study — conducted by the European Society of Cardiology — found that saturated fats, like those found in meat and dairy, can actually protect the heart.
In fact, according to Professor Salim Yusuf, senior author of the study and director of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, in a statement, dairy and meat products "are beneficial for heart health and longevity."
"Thinking on what constitutes a high quality diet for a global population needs to be reconsidered," he said. "For example, our results show that dairy products and meat are beneficial for heart health and longevity. This differs from current dietary advice."
What's more, according coprincipal investigator Dr. Andrew Mente of the PHRI, "people who consumed a diet emphasizing fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, dairy products, and meat had the lowest risks of cardiovascular disease and early death."
Why? Well, the reasoning is actually quite simple: According to the study, eating more unprocessed foods — like meat and cheese — meant individuals were less likely to eat refined carbohydrates, and this improved their overall health.
That said, as with all foods, meat and dairy products should still be consumed in moderation, as the amount of red meat being consumed by study participants amounted to about 4.5 ounces a day.