Got whole milk? Study finds dairy good for the heart afterall

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NEW YORK (CBS) When it comes to heart health, people have been told to go with low fat dairy. Now a new study finds whole fat dairy may be good for the heart and help you live longer.

David Kaiser enjoys a glass of milk every day. "It's better for you than soda and tastes better than water," he said.

Now a new study published in the Lancet finds three servings of dairy per day is linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and death.

"This study is specifically looking at whole milk, or whole fat dairy, which is something that traditionally has been demonized and seen as not good for us," said Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian.

She says that is because of the higher fat content. The study also found people who only ate and drank whole fat dairy had lower rates of death, heart disease, and stroke compared to those who had less whole fat dairy.

The study looked at 130,000 people in 21 countries. And while more research is needed to confirm the link, Rumsey says adding some extra whole fat dairy can be part of a healthy diet.

"If you have a good balance with fruits and vegetables and whole grains and a lot of the unsaturated fats -- so the fats that have beneficial effects -- than having the whole fat and fat from dairy isn't going to be a problem," Rumsey said.

Rumsey says full fat dairy products can often be a healthier option since many low fat products have more added sugar for taste.

One serving of dairy in the study was defined as about eight ounces of milk or yogurt, a half ounce slice of cheese, or a teaspoon of butter.