Cheese, butter, and other full-fat dairy products have become staples of the American diet. Unfortunately, full-fat dairy is certainly not the healthiest food a person can eat. While it’s well-known that over-indulging in dairy products is something that can cause you to put on a few extra pounds, the negative health consequences of a diet that contains too much dairy extend well-beyond weight gain – so much so that a recently-released study contends that replacing full-fat dairy with olive oil can significantly reduce your risk of disease and death.
Replacing Full-Fat Dairy With Olive Oil: What the Research Shows
In a study conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Health, 90,000 participants were asked to replace just over two teaspoons of margarine, butter, mayonnaise, or dairy fat each day with olive oil over the course of thirty years. The results of the study found that those who replaced dairy products with olive oil exhibited up to a 34% lower overall risk of dying than those who did not.
In a statement discussing these results, Dr. Howard LeWine, the chief medical editor of Harvard Health Publishing, said, “It’s a combination of both decreasing the amount of saturated fat at the same time you’re increasing the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil.”
Similar studies in the past have reached similar conclusions. However, these studies were conducted using populations in the Mediterranean and Europe where olive oil consumption is already high. The recent Harvard School of Public Health study is the first large-scale study on olive oil and mortality to use the American population as its test group.
In addition to finding that replacing full-fat dairy with olive oil reduces a person’s risk of death, the study also found a number of correlations between increased olive oil consumption and decreased disease risk. Those in the study who reported the highest levels of olive oil consumption also exhibited a 19% lower risk of dying from heart conditions, a 17% lower risk of dying from cancer, a 29% lower risk of dying from neurodegenerative disease, and an 18% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease compared to those who rarely or never consumed olive oil in place of saturated fats.
In an editorial accompanying the Harvard study, associate professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden Susanna Larsson called the results “novel” and concluded the editorial by saying, “Considering the lack of preventive strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and the high morbidity and mortality related to this disease, this finding, if confirmed, is of great public health importance.”
And for those interested in adopting a diet that promotes weight loss, it is also worth noting that olive oil is a far less fattening food than the saturated fat that it replaces. Speaking on this topic, study author Marta Guasch-Ferre said, “Of note, no scientific evidence supports the notion that eating more olive oil is associated with weight gain. Olive oil could probably increase satiety and fullness, which may potentially reduce the consumption of unhealthy snacks.”
Bikham Healthcare’s Mission for a Healthier America
There’s no denying the fact that the high-fat diet that many Americans have come to adopt is a key contributor to our country’s high obesity and heart disease rates. At Bikham Healthcare, we are committed to the mission of changing this unfortunate trend and striving toward a healthier US population.In addition to raising awareness regarding studies such as this recent study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, we at Bikham Healthcare are also promoting a healthier America by partnering with the physicians and healthcare professionals across the country who are on the front lines of this battle. By offering time-and-resource-saving services such as revenue cycle management, provider credentialing, and provider enrollment, we are freeing up healthcare providers to spend more time focusing on providing the best possible care for their patients. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of partnering with Bikham Healthcare in our mission for a healthier America, be sure to contact us today!