Healthy Australians can enjoy full-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt without worrying about increasing their risk of heart disease or stroke, the Heart Foundation has announced.
The declaration marks a change from previous advice that recommended everyone stick with reduced-fat dairy products.
Now, the authority says only people with high cholesterol, heart disease or type two diabetes need to cut back.
The revelation follows a major review of Australian and international research, which found eating or drinking full-fat dairy products won’t increase a healthy person’s risk of heart disease or stroke.
There was not enough evidence to suggest healthy people needed to reduce their intake.
The foundation did, however, find that people should eat red meat no more than three times per week if they want to keep their heart in good condition.
It also said Australians should limit their consumption of unprocessed beef, lamb, pork and veal to 350 grams a week, equating to about three lean red-meat meals.
Pizza-lovers should be mindful of toppings such as salami or prosciutto, as processed or deli meats have been consistently linked to a higher risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.
The foundation said people with type two diabetes or heart disease should stick to eating seven eggs a week or fewer, as eating lots of eggs has been linked to a higher rate of heart disease and stroke.
Heart Foundation Dietician Sian Armstrong says people needed to consider their whole diet, and not just one food, in order to protect their hearts.
“For heart-healthy eating it’s not just about how many eggs you have a week, or whether you have reduced or full-fat milk. It’s about the whole eating pattern,” Ms Armstrong told AAP.
“So we’re really encouraging people to look at not just one different food, but what they’re eating over days, weeks and even months.”
The Heart Foundation said one of the best things Australians can do for their hearts is to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus proteins such as beans, lentils and tofu, as well as some fish and seafood.