It seems that some changes in the diet of farm cows can result in milk with a lower saturated fat content, which in turn can lead to positive health effects in humans.
Scientists have known for some time that the cow's diet translates into the saturated fat content of their milk. Recent studies have shown that giving them sunflower oil leads to an increase in the amount of healthier monounsaturated fat in milk, i.e. the same as in olive oil or avocado, and a reduction in the amount of saturated fat. According to one of the research authors, Julie Lovegrove from the University of Reading:
Dairy contains saturated fat, so consuming it in large quantities can lead to cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack. However, previous studies have shown that a diet high in some dairy products is not at risk, probably because it contains other valuable ingredients such as protein and calcium. By replacing a quarter of milk saturated fat with monounsaturated fat, we are able to naturally produce healthier dairy products.
54 people participated in the placebo-controlled studies, all with moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. After a 12-week trial period, during which one group consumed a lot of traditional dairy products, most people recorded a 5.5% increase in LDL cholesterol (so-called bad cholesterol) relative to participants from the group that received modified dairy products. In short, scientists have received confirmation that a slight modification of dairy products is enough to improve patient outcomes.
However, it should be remembered that the study had its limitations, and according to specialists, it assumed significantly higher than average consumption of dairy products and fat. So to clearly state that it is worth permanently modifying the diet of cows to improve our health, scientists need to conduct clinical tests on a much larger scale: - The studies were relatively short and only checked blood parameters corresponding to cardiovascular diseases. We are not sure yet whether they will have long-term effects.
However, if this happens, it is good to know that a small change in the cow's diet is enough to obtain milk with the desired properties. According to Ian Givens, director of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of Reading: - Through the RESET program, we were able to effectively reduce the amount of saturated fat and increase monounsaturated fat in dairy products, all by changing the cow's diet, which at the same time does not affect the taste food. Research shows how the use of such milk for the production of butter or cheese can affect human health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with the consumption of large amounts of fat and dairy products.