Cardiovascular health

The impact of dairy consumption on cardiometabolic health reviewed


According to different studies on the risk of cardiometabolic diseases, dairy consumption is associated with improved glucose homeostasis and milk protein may help to reduce the cardiometabolic risk.

This analysis reviewed the results of two different studies on the association between dairy consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disease. The cross-sectional cohort study (Drehmer at al.) examined the impact of dairy food intake on the glycemic status in a large Brazilian population, focussing on the role of dairy products as a major dietary source of saturated fatty acids (SFAs).

The randomized control trial (RCT) of Bohl et al. investigated the effects of milk proteins and fatty acids on postprandial lipemia in abdominally obese subjects, comparing more specifically the influence mechanisms of whey protein and casein.

Greater benefit of fermented and low-fat dairy

The prospective cohort study reported that a high dairy intake, especially of fermented dairy products, was associated with improved glucose homeostasis/insulin sensitivity, independent of obesity status. An additional meta-analysis found a greater benefit of low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, compared to non-fermented dairy foods. Drehmer et al. suggested that myristic acid in dairy products may contribute to improve the glucose homeostasis and that not all dairy SFAs are equal in relation to CVD risk.

The RCT highlights the important role of milk proteins in preventing chronic diseases, as well as the beneficial effect on blood pressure control. The authors conclude that whey protein, and not casein, may reduce vascular stiffness, which seems to be a crucial CVD risk factor.

Reference: Givens, D.I., et al., Dairy products: good or bad for cardiometabolic disease?, Am J Clin Nutr 2015, vol 101, pp. 695–6.

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