Could what you pour on your morning cereal or in your morning coffee be setting you up for Parkinson’s disease?
Some shocking new research has found a connection between certain kinds of dairy products and your risk of developing this devastating condition.
In what’s being called the largest analysis of dairy and Parkinson’s to date, researchers have found that some common foods could be putting you right in the crosshairs of this mobility-robbing disease.
The good news, however, is that it doesn’t take much to kick this menace to the curb.
In fact, all it takes is making some simple diet swaps, from breakfast to dinner!
All those so-called experts who claimed that we had to eat low-fat foods — or else — should have a lot of Egg Beaters on their faces at this point.
Because it turns out that the low-fat dairy myth was a lot more than wrong — it was downright dangerous.
And what could turn out to be one of the most surprising risks was just uncovered by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The team analyzed 25 years of data on over 80,000 women and 48,000 men who were enrolled in two big, long-term health studies. And when they matched up dietary habits to disease rates, they found that people who had three or more servings of low-fat dairy per day had a whopping 34 percent increased risk of Parkinson’s compared to those who had none or very small amounts.
But what’s even riskier, it turns out, is having just a tad over one serving of low-fat or skim milk a day, which makes the risk jump up to 40 percent, when compared to people who shunned these tasteless beverages.
Now, what about the whole milk that has long been regarded as a no-no, even for kids in grammar school? Well, they looked at full-fat dairy products, too.
And guess what? Whole milk and other full-fat dairy had “no association” at all with Parkinson’s.
The researchers said they weren’t exactly sure how low-fat dairy products could increase your risk of this disabling disease, although they offered up a few guesses.
One possibility, they said, could be that low-fat dairy decreases your levels of urate (derived from uric acid) more than whole versions do. While high amounts of urates can up your risk of gout, researchers believe these tiny crystals may also offer protection against Parkinson’s.
Another reason they threw out there had to do with the possibility of pesticide and other chemical residues becoming more concentrated in low-fat products.
And considering all the steps it takes to make low-fat and skim milk, that’s entirely possible.
In the old days, when whole milk was the norm, the cream would rise to the top of the bottle, leaving behind a lower-fat product. Now, however, removing the cream is a highly processed business. The milk goes into a centrifuge to get the fat out, then through a variety of other steps, ending up with something that now needs to be fortified with milk solids and synthetic vitamins.
Also, experts have warned that the small amount of cholesterol left behind in skim milk is oxidized — the very worst kind.
So it shouldn’t be any kind of surprise that unexpected changes might occur in milk when it’s stripped of its natural fat content.
On top of that, other studies have found that you won’t find any of whole milk’s healthy compounds in skim milk. One is oleic acid (think olive oil!), and another is a fat called “conjugated linoleic acid” or CLA. Previous research has found that CLA may lower your risk of cancer and heart disease.
And there’s another recent finding about Parkinson’s that may play a part in all this as well.
Last year, we told you about a study that found special cells in the intestines that appear to be able to actually fix damaged neurons in the brain that can lead to Parkinson’s disease. One of the researchers called those special immune cells “detectives,” because they can seek out and eliminate damaged parts in neurons so they can keep making dopamine.
Could low-fat dairy somehow stop that “repair” process? These are all things we don’t know.
But what we do know is that it’s time to put that low-fat sacred cow out to pasture once and for all!
“Does consuming low-fat dairy increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease?” American Academy of Neurology, June 7, 2017, ScienceDaily, sciencedaily.com