The study, which was funded by the Dutch Dairy Foundation, followed more than 120,000 older adults for a decade.
It showed no relationship between men's dairy intake and their risk of dying during the study period. Among women, meanwhile, a high intake of dairy fat - from butter or other full-fat dairy - was linked to a small increase in deaths, particularly those due to heart disease.
In contrast, eating full-fat sour dairy products, including yogurt and sour cream, was tied to a slight decrease in deaths among both men and women.
None of those relationships prove that dairy products were the reason for the higher or lower risks, however. And even if they were, the effects were tiny, the researchers say.
So the findings offer little reason for people to either boost or lower their dairy intake, lead researcher Dr. R. Alexandra Goldbohm, of TNO Quality of Life in Leiden, the Netherlands, said in an email.