Plenty of people make sure to drink milk on a regular basis thinking that it will help to keep their bones stronger. However, it turns out that one kind of milk might instead be making your brain age faster, according to a new study.
In the research that was recently published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research journal, 4,668 participants who were all between the ages of 55 and 75 years old first provided information about their existing diet while also going through neuropsychological tests to determine a baseline. The participants were also all at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
Two years later, they did the same examination, which is when those behind the study found a possible association between a higher rate of cognitive decline when it came to drinking whole-fat milk.
However, experts are very quick to note that these findings are still very early.
“The most important takeaway from this study is that these are very early observational findings, meaning they are not to be taken as gospel,” Kristin Carlino, a registered dietitian based at Jersey City Medical Center, tells Eat This, Not That!. Carlino explains that “studies like this are meant to be a guide for future research and just one small part of a much larger conversation.” Beyond that, it’s apparently important to note that “many other factors can affect someone’s health besides the dietary factors they monitored.”
Carlino also notes that “IF high dairy consumption is found to be correlated with more cognitive decline, it doesn’t mean that it is the cause of the decline.” She offers an example, noting that “people who intake a lot of dairy might also be more likely to intake a lot of sugar with that diary (like in the form of ice cream or dairy-based desserts) and the high sugar intake and resulting insulin spikes might be the actual cause of cognitive decline.”
As for drinking milk, Calino says she “suggests a moderate intake of dairy, taking care to focus on high-quality options if that is accessible,” while also “recommending probiotic-rich, fermented sources like yogurt, kefir, and lassi.” Beyond that, she doesn’t necessarily “shy away from full-fat dairy due to the fat’s satiating effect.”
To find out if you should be taking a more moderate approach to drinking dairy, be sure to read 5 Warning Signs You’re Drinking Too Much Milk.