How would you describe the role of a healthy diet, specifically yogurt, in cardiovascular disease prevention?
Cardiovascular prevention begins in the kitchen. Recently, very large epidemiological studies have shown that individuals who follow a healthy dietary pattern may have a lower blood pressure and decreased cardiovascular risk. Those dietary pattern are characterized by a high consumption of fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, fish and yogurt . Yogurt fits perfectly in that healthy dietary pattern that provides cardiovascular benefits.
What’s yogurt role in preventing the risk of high blood pressure?
There is some interesting evidence suggesting that individuals who consume yogurt on a regular basis may be at lower risk of developing hypertension than others. However additional studies, especially randomized clinical trials are needed to determine whether the association between yogurt consumption and blood pressure is causal and more importantly whether yogurt consumption should be part of blood pressure prevention and management.
What’s your opinion about the fullfat dairy story which has been quite popular lately?
The fat content of the diet poorly reflects whether a diet is healthy or not. Many individuals following a high-fat diet rich in fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil and dairy products can have a healthy body weight. They can also have a lower risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases. Interestingly, recent studies have shown that fats from dairy products can be inversely associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes. From a public health perspective, we should be more concerned about the spectacular rise in ultra-processed food consumption around the world than our consumption of dairy fat. At the end of the day, it all comes down to dietary quality.
About Benoit Arsenault
Dr Benoit Arsenault is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medicine at Université Laval. He is also a research scientist at the Québec Heart and Lung Institute in Canada. The research of Dr Arsenault’s team focuses on the impact of various interventions (lifestyle modification therapy, dietary interventions, physical activity and pharmacotherapy) on cardiometabolic risk markers such as body composition, insulin sensitivity as well as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function, lipoprotein(a) and PCSK9 in humans. The laboratory of Dr Arsenault also uses state-of-the-art imaging technologies to study the determinants (dietary patterns, physical activity and genomics) and the consequences of intra-abdominal and hepatic fat on insulin resistance, atherosclerosis and aortic valve diseases.
The study of the genetic determinants of aortic valve diseases, HDL functionality and other biomarkers of lipoprotein metabolism, as well as lipid-lowering therapy pharmacogenomics is also an important research theme of Dr Arsenault’s lab. Dr Arsenault is a member of the Genomic Investigation of Statin Therapy consortium.
Dr Arsenault has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts in major medical, scientific and cardiology journals. He is also the senior editor of the scientific journal Future Science Open Access and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lipoprotein(a) Foundation. He has peer-reviewed more than 200 manuscripts for various scientific journals.
Dr Arsenault holds a junior scholar award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec: Santé (FRQS). He has received several distinctions such as the Young Investigator Clinical Science Award of the European Society of Cardiology in 2011.
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