The most recent study followed 2,907 Americans over age 65 without cardiovascular disease for 22 years to see which would develop heart problems. Observational studies like this would usually survey participants to see which ate full-fat dairy and which opted for low-fat versions, then would compare those two categories. Instead, this group measured fatty acid levels in the participants' blood. Fatty acids are a kind of blood lipid (the other main one is the well-known cholesterol), and levels of these molecules help determine your cardiovascular disease risk. The lipids in saturated fats tend to be unhealthy, but these researchers found that the fatty acids from dairy are different. By measuring the levels of dairy-specific fatty acids, the researchers could figure out which people ate more dairy fat than others and tie that to health outcomes like stroke, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality. As it turns out, most of them had no influence on mortality. One, called heptadecanoic acid, was associated with a lower risk of stroke. But overall, the authors wrote, "the findings from our investigation and previous studies suggest no major effects of dairy fatty acids on CVD risk."