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Dairy foods and cardiometabolic diseases: an update and a reassessment of the impact of SFA

Givens, I. (2023) Dairy foods and cardiometabolic diseases: an update and a reassessment of the impact of SFA. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 82 (3). pp. 329-345. ISSN 0029-6651

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0029665123000083


Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and CVD are major causes of mortality and chronic morbidity. Whilst mortality from CVD has decreased they remain the largest cause of death in Europe and the prevalence of T2D is increasing rapidly. A consistent component of public health advice is to reduce intake of SFA to reduce CVD in particular, which implies limiting dairy food consumption. The prospective studies and randomised controlled trials included in this review show that for dairy foods at least, SFA are not consistently associated with CVD or T2D risk. For CVD the association with dairy foods is generally neutral despite dairy foods being the major source of SFA in many diets. This creates considerable doubt, at least for dairy foods, concerning the validity of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis which positively relates SFA intake to increased serum LDL-cholesterol and subsequent increased CVD. There is now emerging evidence to explain this which is highly relevant to dairy foods. These include the potentially counterbalancing effect of SFA-stimulated HDL-cholesterol and specific food matrix factors. In addition, SFA are associated with the less atherogenic large buoyant LDL particles and possible counterbalancing hypotensive effects of dairy proteins. Overall, dairy foods have either a neutral or beneficial association with CVD and T2D. Beneficial associations are seen for blood pressure and the reduced T2D risk linked to yoghurt consumption, a subject that needs urgent attention given the sharp rise in T2D prevalence in many countries.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH)
ID Code:111111
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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