Consuming high-fat dairy products found to make lung function in smokers even worse

It’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health. However, add high-fat dairy to the mix, and you could be looking at worse damages, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition & Intermediary Metabolism. In the study, Australian researchers explored the association between lung function and dairy consumption in smokers.

How smoking affects the body

Smoking can harm the body in multiple ways. To begin, burning tobacco, the main component of cigarettes, creates more than 4,000 chemicals – of which the most dangerous are nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar.

Once this gets in the lungs and airways, this can result in a lot of breathing-related problems. This can range from a persistent cough to severe conditions such as emphysema – even cancer. It can also adversely affect the lungs and airways. In some cases, this can be acute such as having a cold and pneumonia, but others are chronic and can severely impair a person’s quality of life.

Other changes include the following:

  • Cells that produce mucus in the lungs and airways increase, causing frequent cases of runny nose and thick mucus.
  • The cilia, which are hairs in the nose that clean it, are also impaired, with its function being delayed for several hours.
  • Since the lungs and airways are filled with mucus and cannot be expelled, chances of getting infected also increase.
  • The respiratory system becomes irritated and inflamed, reducing the air flow.
  • In later stages, smoking can destroy lung tissue, decreasing the amount of oxygen that the body receives.

In severe cases, the chemicals present in cigarette smoke can mutate cells into cancer cells.

The link between dairy and smoking

In the current study, researchers took a subsample from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study Report – in particular, focusing on those who were born in 1986. From that subset, 836 individuals took part in this study. Their lung functions were tested using spirometry; after which, they completed a questionnaire. This was done to determine how much dairy fat they consumed, and how often did they eat it. The term “dairy fat,” as defined by the researchers in this study, included ice cream, full cream, and full-fat cheese. The spirometry then tested how much can they breathe out (called expiration), which is a primary function of the lungs. Their final data were adjusted for sex, age, height, education, occupation, asthma, body mass index (BMI), and fruit and vegetable intake – with smoking evaluated as an “effect modifier,” that is, a variable that affects the total outcome.

Based on their findings, researchers discovered a link between the two. After measuring their lung function, they discovered that smokers who drank full-fat milk were able to breathe out less than those who drank skim milk. They also saw similar trends in other tests: Those who consumed a high-fat dairy diet had poorer lung function than those who don’t eat high-fat dairy. They also noted that those who smoked before and non-smokers did not share this association.

“Consumption of high-fat dairy products was associated with poorer lung function in smokers,” they wrote in their report. “This was consistent across measures of dairy fat intake.”

Of course, there’s one more thing that’s common with cigarettes and processed milk – both were designed to be addictive. Unlike raw milk, which contains proteins, dietary fat, as well as helpful enzymes which are killed in pasteurization, store-bought milk contains artificial sweeteners that wreck your body the same way smoking does.

To learn about the other detrimental effects of smoking, visit

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