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Back to Cardiovascular Disease

Dairy and Cardiometabolic Outcomes

A systematic review by Canadian researchers concludes that dairy may reduce the risk of cardiometabolic-related outcomes.

Highlights

  • There is no evidence that any type of dairy product is detrimentally associated with the risk of cardiometabolic-related outcomes;
  • The consumption of milk products has either a neutral or favourable association with cardiometabolic-related outcomes;
  • There is no evidence that the consumption of dairy fat or regular/high-fatdairy is detrimental to cardiometabolic-related outcomes.

About the systematic review

The study aimed to determine:

  • If the consumption of dairy products is detrimental, neutral or beneficial to cardiometabolic health;
  • If the recommendation to consume reduced-fat as opposed to regular-fat dairy is evidence-based.

The review included 21 meta-analyses of prospective cohort studies on the association between dairy consumption and cardiometabolic-related outcomes.

Results

Summary of the associations between dairy consumption and cardiometabolic-related outcomes:

CVD CHD Stroke Hypertension MetS T2D
All dairy Neutral Neutral Favourable Favourable Favourable Favourable
Regular/high-fat dairy Uncertain Neutral Neutral Neutral Uncertain Neutral
Low-fat dairy Uncertain Neutral Favourable Favourable Uncertain Favourable
Milk Uncertain Neutral Neutral Favourable Favourable Neutral
Cheese Neutral Neutral Favourable Neutral Uncertain Favourable
Yogurt Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral Uncertain Favourable
Fermented dairy Uncertain Uncertain Favourable Neutral Uncertain Neutral

CVD = cardiovascular disease; CHD = coronary heart disease; MetS = metabolic syndrome; T2D = type 2 diabetes; Uncertain = very low quality of evidence

There is high-quality evidence for the association between:

  • All dairy and reduced hypertension risk;
  • Low-fat dairy and reduced type 2 diabetes risk;
  • Yogurt and reduced type 2 diabetes risk.      

There is moderate to high evidence that:

  • Cheese has a neutral effect on cardiovascular disease risk;
  • Cheese is associated with reduced stroke and type 2 diabetes risk;
  • Regular/high-fat dairy is neutral in terms of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

The recommendation to focus on low-fat in place of regular/high-fat dairy is currently not evidence-based.

Conclusion

There is no evidence to suggest that any type of dairy product, as well as dairy fat, is unfavourably associated with cardiometabolic-related outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

In addition, there is evidence that dairy products may be beneficial to cardiovascular health. In particular, the complex matrix of dairy foods may play a role. However, further research is needed to understand the potential underlying mechanisms. For more information, click here.

Keywords: type 2 diabetes , cardiovascular disease , coronary heart disease , stroke , hypertension , metabolic syndrome


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