Dairy Products and Health

Compiled by John G. Connor, M.Ac., L.Ac., edited by Barbara Connor, M.Ac., L.Ac.

Table of Contents 

  • Introduction  
  • Effects of Dairy Products in Cancer
  • Effects of Dairy Products in Cardiovascular Disease
  • Effects of Dairy Products in Diabetes
  • Effects of Dairy Products in Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
  • Effects of Dairy Products in Weight Loss
  • Miscellaneous Effects of Dairy Products
  • Supplementation of Diets with Fermented Dairy Products or Lactic Acid Bacteria Containing Dairy Products

Barbara and believe that for optimal health one should include small amounts of dairy in one’s diet. Traditionally, people have used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut both as a means to preserve food and to support intestinal, immunological, and overall health.  As far back as Roman times, people consumed sauerkraut as a delicious food, and for health-related issues.  In India the consumption of a fermented dairy drink before meals known as  ‘lassi’ was and is commonly consumed. People in India also consume a small amount of curd, yogurt or raita with their meals.  These Indian traditions are based on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body. We hope that the compilation of studies in this article will help clarify the role that dairy products play in health and disease.

Dairy products can be from goat, sheep or cow and should be in the form of organic whole milk yogurt and mostly hard cheeses. Cheese, milk and yogurt are concentrated sources of protein as well as containing calcium and magnesium for building strong bones. Whole-fat dairy products are a healthier choice rather than low-fat or non-fat dairy products.  Whenever possible dairy products should be from free-range, grass-fed animals. Organic butter is a beneficial addition to the diet when used in moderation. 

In Chinese Medicine dairy products, yogurt and cheese are indicated for yin deficiency. The main manifestations of yin deficiency include low-grade fever or a feeling of heat in the afternoon, a dry throat at night, night sweats, emaciation, a floating-empty pulse and a red, peeled and dry tongue. 

Vegetarian diets can be divided into several types depending on the kinds of food consumed: vegans avoid all animal food in that they eat no meat, fish, dairy or eggs; lacto-vegetarians and ovo-vegetarians consume milk and dairy products or eggs; ovo-lacto-vegetarians consume milk, dairy products, and eggs, and semi-vegetarians consume small quantities of chicken and fish. (Kim et al 2012)

A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. (Craig et al 2009)

An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. (Craig et al 2009)

Milk composition and percent contribution to the daily dietary reference intakes of some nutrients in 0.5 l whole milk, and their main health effects. (Chart from Haug et al 2007)

Milk component

Concentration in 1 l whole milk (a)

Percent contribution of 0.5 l whole milk to reference intake (b)

Health effects


33 g/l


Energy rich

Saturated fatty acids

19 g/l


Increase HDL, small dense LDL, and total cholesterol. Inhibition of bacteria, virus

Oleic acid

8 g/l


Prevent CHD, gives stable membranes

Lauric acid

0,8 g/l


Antiviral and antibacterial

Myrisitc acid

3,0 g/l


Increase LDL and HDL

Palmitic acid

8 g/l


Increase LDL and HDL

Linoleic acid

1,2 g/l


Omega-6 fatty acid

Alpha linolenic a

0,75 g/l


Omega-3 fatty acid


32 g/l


Essential amino acids, bioactive proteins, peptides. Enhanced bioavailability


53 g/l


Lactosylation products


1,1 g/l


Bones, teeth, blood pressure, weight control


100 mg/l


For elderly, asthma treatment


4 mg/l


Immune function. Gene expression


37 ug/l


Cancer, allergy, CHD

Vitamin E

0,6 mg/l



Vitamin A

280 ug/l


Vision, cell differentiation


50 ug/l


DNA synthesis, cell division, amino acid metabolism


1,83 mg/l


Prevent ariboflavinosis

Vitamin B12

4,4 ug/l


Key role in folate metabolism

(a) Data from USDA Food Composition Data.

(b) Dietary reference intake (DRI) for men and women.

Effects of Dairy Products in Cancer

Milk fat in prophylaxis of cancer diseases.
Milk fat is characterized by extensive pro-health activity. Its unique components, such as: short chain saturated fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vaccenic acid, ether lipids (alkiloglicerols and alkiloglicerophospholipids), 13-methyltetradecanic acid and bioactive components of antioxidative activity, are important in prophylaxis, and even in therapy of cancer diseases. Advantageous influence to maintain pro- and antioxidative balance of organism is revealed by the components of milk fat: conjugated linoleic acid, vitamins A and E, and coenzyme Q10. Moreover, vitamin D3, phospholipids, ether lipids, cholesterol and 13-methyltetradecanic acid also reveal antioxidative activity. (Cichosz & Czeczot 2012)

Dairy products and colorectal cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies.
Previous studies of the association between intake of dairy products and colorectal cancer risk have indicated an inverse association with milk, however, the evidence for cheese or other dairy products is inconsistent. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to clarify the shape of the dose-response relationship between dairy products and colorectal cancer risk. We searched the PubMed database for prospective studies published up to May 2010. Inverse associations were observed in both men and women but were restricted to colon cancer. There was evidence of a nonlinear association between milk and total dairy products and colorectal cancer risk, P<0.001, and the inverse associations appeared to be the strongest at the higher range of intake. This meta-analysis shows that milk and total dairy products, but not cheese or other dairy products, are associated with a reduction in colorectal cancer risk. (Aune et al 2012)

Higher meat, fish, and sweetened beverage intake, but lower coffee, high fat dairy, and whole grains intake, showed direct association with CRC risk.
In up to 20 years of follow-up, we ascertained 985 cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) and 758 colon cancer. After adjusting for confounders, the C-peptide dietary pattern, characterized by higher meat, fish, and sweetened beverage intake, but lower coffee, high fat dairy, and whole grains intake, showed direct association with CRC risk . The same comparison was slightly stronger for colon cancer. (Fung et al 2012)

Fruit, vegetable, and animal food intake and breast cancer risk by hormone receptor status.
The effects of diet on breast cancer are controversial and whether the effects vary with hormone receptor status has not been well investigated. This study evaluated the associations of dietary factors with risk for breast cancer overall and by the hormone receptor status of tumors among Chinese women. The Shanghai Breast Cancer Study, a large, population-based, case-control study, enrolled 3,443 cases and 3,474 controls in 1996-1998 (phase I) and 2002-2005 (phase II); 2676 cases had estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) data. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated, quantitative, food frequency questionnaire. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were derived from multivariate, polychotomous, unconditional logistic regression models. Total vegetable intake was inversely related to breast cancer risk, with an adjusted OR for the highest quintile of 0.80. Reduced risk was also related to high intake of allium vegetables and fresh legumes. High intake of citrus fruits and rosaceae fruits were inversely associated with breast cancer risk, although no consistent association was seen for total fruit intake. Elevated risk was observed for all types of meat and fish intake, whereas intakes of eggs and milk were associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer. There was little evidence that associations with dietary intakes varied across the 4 tumor subtypes or between ER+/PR+ and ER-/PR- tumors. Our results suggest that high intake of total vegetables, certain fruits, milk, and eggs may reduce the risk of breast cancer, whereas high consumption of animal-source foods may increase risk. The dietary associations did not appear to vary by ER/PR status. (Bao et al 2012)

Dairy products, calcium intake, and risk of prostate cancer in the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian cancer screening trial.
In this large prospective study in a prostate cancer screening trial, greater dietary intake of calcium and dairy products, particularly low-fat types, may be modestly associated with increased risks for nonaggressive prostate cancer, but was unrelated to aggressive disease. Furthermore, we found no relationship between calcium intake and circulating vitamin D. (Ahn et al 2007)

Whole milk associated with decrease in prostate cancer risk and low-/nonfat milk with higher risk.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found no association between the intakes of calcium and Vitamin D and prostate cancer risk, but low-/nonfat milk consumption was moderately associated with higher risk and whole milk consumption was associated with slightly decreased risk of prostate cancer. (Park et al 2007)

No association between dairy and prostate cancer.
Cohort studies showed no evidence of an association between dairy or milk intake and risk of prostate cancer. The data from observational studies do not support an association between dairy product use and an increased risk of prostate cancer. (Huncharek et al 2008)

Yogurt feeding inhibits promotion and progression of experimental colorectal cancer. 
In BALB/c mice, a yogurt diet given before and after the carcinogen 1, 2 dymethylhydrazine (DMH) inhibited colon cancer. This paper studied at which stage of tumor development (initiation, promotion or progression) yogurt exerts its antitumor activity. Six experimental groups were used: 1) non-treatment control; 2) DMH control; 3) yogurt-DMH-yogurt: yogurt administered before and after DMH. 4) yogurt-DMH: yogurt given only 10 days before DMH; 5) DMH-yogurt: yogurt given cyclically after DMH; and 6) yogurt control. The groups DMH-yogurt and yogurt-DMH were compared histologically and TNFalpha, INFgamma, IL-10 and IL-4 cytokines, CD4+/CD25+ T cells, and apoptotic cells were determined in large intestine biopsies. TNFalpha and INFgamma were also determined in cells isolated from large intestine nodules and from Peyer’s patches.The DMH-yogurt group did not develop tumor. The yogurt-DMH group showed only tumor delay; TNFalpha, INFgamma and IL-10 increasing in this group in all the periods assayed. These results agree with those already reported for DMH control and yogurt-DMH-yogurt. There was no correlation between the high levels of IL-10 and CD4+/CD25+ T regulatory population. IL-4 and apoptotic cells increased in the yogurt-DMH group only in the first months. In the DMH-yogurt group, cellular apoptosis increased during the whole treatment. Yogurt feeding induced TNFalpha and INFgamma increases in cells isolated from large intestine nodules. These cytokines also increased in cells from Peyer’s patches of the yogurt control group.These results show that yogurt inhibited tumor progression and promotion by modulating the immune response and stimulating cellular apoptosis. (de Moreno de Lablanc 2004)

Conjugated linoleic acid inhibits cell proliferation in colon cancer.
CLA is the common element of a group of C18 fatty acids with two double bonds exhibiting strong anticarcinogenic effects in a variety of animal models. CLA is found naturally in food such as milk fat and the meat of ruminant animals. The inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis by CLA in HT-29 cells may be mediated in part by its ability to decrease IGF-II synthesis and to downregulate IGF-IR signaling and the PI3K/Akt and ERK-1/2 pathways. We demonstrated that CLA negatively regulated levels of IGF-II and mature IGF-IR and subsequent activation of Akt and MAPK pathways in HT-29 cells. Inhibition of IGF-I receptor signaling may be one of the mechanisms by which CLA inhibits cancer cell growth. The activation of the IGF-I/IGF-IR system has recently been shown to be a critical event in the development of several murine and human tumors. The results reported herein indicate that inhibition of Akt phosphorylation may be a major mechanism by which CLA inhibits IGF-IR signaling and cell proliferation and induces apoptosis. (Kim et al 2003)

Effects of Dairy Products in Cardiovascular Disease

Dairy consumption and the risk of 15-year cardiovascular disease mortality in a cohort of older Australians.
The effects of habitual dairy consumption and the risk of 15-year cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in a cohort of older Australians were investigated. There were no associations or trends between low/reduced fat dairy or whole fat dairy consumption, or ratio (LF/WF) and any of the three outcomes in the fully adjusted model (all p > 0.05). This study found no consistent association between baseline consumption of dairy foods and the risk of CHD, stroke and combined CVD mortality. (Louie et al 2013)

Association between Dairy Food Consumption and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Women Differs by Type of Dairy Food.
Myocardial infarction (MI) incidence was ascertained from national registries. Over 11.6 y of follow-up, we ascertained 1392 cases of MI. When the highest quintile was compared with the lowest quintile, total dairy food intake was inversely associated with MI risk. Among specific dairy food products, total cheese was inversely associated and butter used on bread but not on cooking was positively associated with MI risk. Other specific dairy food products were not significantly associated with MI risk. No differences were observed between consumption of specific low-fat and high-fat dairy foods, expressed as either absolute intakes or intakes relative to the total, and MI risk. (Patterson et al 2013)

Is dairy product consumption associated with the incidence of CHD?
Studies examining the association of dairy consumption with incident CHD (coronary heart disease) have yielded inconsistent results. The current prospective study examined the association between dairy consumption and CHD in a population-based sample of older community-dwelling adults. Baseline CHD risk factors were assessed and an FFQ was self-administered. Participants were followed for morbidity and mortality with periodic clinic visits and annual mailed questionnaires for an average of 16·2 years, with a 96 % follow-up rate for fatal and non-fatal CHD. Participants were 751 men and 1008 women aged 50-93 years who attended a clinic visit in 1984-1987. At baseline the mean age was 70·6 (sd 9·8) years for men and 70·1 (sd 9·3) years for women. Participants who developed CHD during follow-up were significantly older, had higher BMI and higher total cholesterol, and were more likely to be male, diabetic  and hypertensive, than those who did not develop CHD. Multivariate regression analyses adjusting for age, BMI, diabetes, hypertension, LDL-cholesterol and oestrogen use (in women) indicated that women who consumed low-fat cheese ‘sometimes/often’ and women who consumed non-fat milk ‘sometimes/often’ had an increased risk of incident CHD and CHD compared with women who ‘never/rarely’ ate these dairy products. Woman with higher intake of low-fat cheese and non-fat milk seem to have a higher risk of incident CHD. This needs further investigation considering recent evidence of cardiovascular benefits from certain dairy fat. (Avalos et al 2012)

Overall consumption of dairy products inversely associated with risk of CVD and high intake of fermented milk may reduce the risk of CVD
It is unclear whether specific dairy products are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of this project was therefore to examine the association between intake of milk, cheese, cream and butter, and incidence of CVD in the Swedish Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort. Milk was separated into fermented (yoghurt and cultured sour milk) versus non-fermented milk, and low-fat versus high-fat milk. Among 26,445 individuals without a history of myocardial infarction, stroke and diabetes (44-74 years; 62% females), 2,520 CVD cases (coronary and stroke events) were identified during a mean follow-up time of 12 years. Dietary data was collected using a modified diet history method. Overall consumption of dairy products was inversely associated with risk of CVD. Among the specific dairy products, a statistically significant inverse relationship was observed only for fermented milk. The highest versus lowest intake category of fermented milk was associated with 15% decreased incidence of CVD. We observed a statistically significant interaction between sex and cheese intake. Cheese intake was significantly associated with decreased CVD risk in women, but not in men. The main finding was that a high intake of fermented milk may reduce the risk of CVD. This study suggests that it is important to examine dairy products separately when investigating their health effects. (Sonestedt et al 2011)

Biomarkers of milk fat and the risk of myocardial infarction in men and women: a prospective, matched case-control study.
High intakes of saturated fat have been associated with cardiovascular disease, and milk fat is rich in saturated fat. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between the serum milk fat biomarkers pentadecanoic acid (15:0), heptadecanoic acid (17:0), and their sum (15:0+17:0) and a first myocardial infarction (MI). The study design was a prospective case-control study nested within a large population-based cohort in Sweden. Included in the study were 444 cases (307 men) and 556 controls (308 men) matched on sex, age, date of examination, and geographic region. Clinical, anthropometric, biomarker fatty acid, physical activity, and dietary data were collected. The odds of a first MI were investigated by using conditional logistic regression. In women, proportions of milk fat biomarkers in plasma phospholipids were significantly higher in controls than in cases and were, in general, negatively, albeit weakly, correlated with risk factors for metabolic syndrome. The crude standardized odds ratios of becoming an MI case were 0.74  in women and 0.91 in men. After multivariable adjustment for confounders, the inverse association remained in both sexes and was significant in women. In agreement with biomarker data, quartiles of reported intake of cheese (men and women) and fermented milk products (men) were inversely related to a first MI. Milk fat biomarkers were associated with a lower risk of developing a first MI, especially in women. This was partly confirmed in analysis of fermented milk and cheese intake. Components of metabolic syndrome were observed as potential intermediates for the risk relations. (Warensjo et al 2010)

Milk enriched with healthy fatty acids improves cardiovascular risk markers and nutritional status.
Daily intake of a milk enriched with fish oil, oleic acid, and vitamins improved the nutritional status and cardiovascular risk markers of volunteers, whereas skimmed milk and semi-skimmed milk did not. (Fonolla et al 2009)

Moderate cholesterol-lowering action of dairy products fermented with appropriate strain(s) of lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
Although not without exception, results from animal and human studies suggest a moderate cholesterol-lowering action of dairy products fermented with appropriate strain(s) of lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. Mechanistically, probiotic bacteria ferment food-derived indigestible carbohydrates to produce short-chain fatty acids in the gut, which can then cause a decrease in the systemic levels of blood lipids by inhibiting hepatic cholesterol synthesis and/or redistributing cholesterol from plasma to the liver. Furthermore, some bacteria may interfere with cholesterol absorption from the gut by deconjugating bile salts and therefore affecting the metabolism of cholesterol, or by directly assimilating cholesterol. For prebiotic substances, the majority of studies have been done with the fructooligosaccharides inulin and oligofructose, and although convincing lipid-lowering effects have been observed in animals, high dose levels had to be used. Reports in humans are few in number. In studies conducted in normal-lipidemic subjects, two reported no effect of inulin or oligofructose on serum lipids, whereas two others reported a significant reduction in serum triglycerides (19 and 27%, respectively) with more modest changes in serum total and LDL cholesterol. At present, data suggest that in hyperlipidemic subjects, any effects that do occur result primarily in reductions in cholesterol, whereas in normal lipidemic subjects, effects on serum triglycerides are the dominant feature. (Pereira & Gibson 2002)

Effects of Dairy Products in Diabetes

Dairy product intake in relation to glucose regulation indices and risk of type 2 diabetes.
A high intake of dairy has been linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The relationship between dairy intake and glucose metabolism is still not well understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between the intake of total dairy and dairy subgroups and T2D and measures of glucose metabolism. A total of 5953 Danish men and women aged 30-60 years without baseline diabetes or cardiovascular diseases were included in this prospective analysis. The dairy intake at baseline was categorised into low-fat dairy, full-fat dairy, milk and milk products, cheese and fermented dairy. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2-h plasma glucose (2hPG), HbA(1c), insulin resistance (HOMA2-IR) and beta-cell function (HOMA2-B) were considered at 5-year follow-up. In the maximally-adjusted model (demographics, lifestyle factors, dietary factors and waist), cheese intake was inversely associated with 2hPG. Fermented dairy intake was inversely associated with FPG and HbA(1c). Total dairy intake and the dairy subgroups were not related to HOMA-IR and HOMA-B in the maximally-adjusted model. Furthermore, there was no significant association between intake of total dairy or any of the dairy subgroups and incidence of T2D. Our data suggest a modest beneficial effect of cheese and fermented dairy on glucose regulation measures; however, this did not translate into a significant association with incident T2D. (Struijk et al 2012)

The amount and type of dairy product intake and incident type 2 diabetes: results from the EPIC-InterAct Study.
Dairy product intake may be inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, but the evidence is inconclusive for total dairy products and sparse for types of dairy products. The objective was to investigate the prospective association of total dairy products and different dairy subtypes with incidence of diabetes in populations with marked variation of intake of these food groups. A nested case-cohort within 8 European countries of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study (n = 340,234; 3.99 million person-years of follow-up) included a random subcohort (n = 16,835) and incident diabetes cases (n = 12,403). Baseline dairy product intake was assessed by using dietary questionnaires. Country-specific Prentice-weighted Cox regression HRs were calculated and pooled by using a random-effects meta-analysis. Intake of total dairy products was not associated with diabetes in an analysis adjusted for age, sex, BMI, diabetes risk factors, education, and dietary factors. Of the dairy subtypes, cheese intake tended to have an inverse association with diabetes, and a higher combined intake of fermented dairy products (cheese, yogurt, and thick fermented milk) was inversely associated with diabetes in adjusted analyses that compared extreme quintiles. This large prospective study found no association between total dairy product intake and diabetes risk. An inverse association of cheese intake and combined fermented dairy product intake with diabetes is suggested, which merits further study. (Sluijs et al 2012)

Component in whole-fat dairy foods may cut diabetes risk.
In multivariate analyses, whole-fat dairy consumption was most strongly associated with higher trans-palmitoleate levels. Higher trans-palmitoleate levels were associated with slightly lower adiposity and, independently, with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels, a lower total cholesterol-HDL cholesterol ratio, lower C-reactive protein levels, and lower insulin resistance. Trans-palmitoleate was also associated with a substantially lower incidence of diabetes, with multivariate hazard ratios of 0.41 and 0.38 in quintiles 4 and 5 versus quintile 1. Findings were independent of estimated dairy consumption or other fatty acid dairy biomarkers. Protective associations with metabolic risk factors were confirmed in the validation cohort. (Mozaffarian et al 2010)

Effects of Dairy Products in Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Dairy-based smoothies significantly reduced circulating biomarkers of oxidative stress.
Oxidative and inflammatory stress are elevated in obesity and are further augmented in metabolic syndrome. An increase in dairy intake attenuates oxidative and inflammatory stress in metabolic syndrome. We confirmed these findings in a recent randomized crossover trial in otherwise healthy overweight and obese adults, and showed that dairy-based smoothies, but not soy-based smoothies, significantly reduced circulating biomarkers of oxidative stress (malondialdehyde and 8-isoprostane F) and inflammation [tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, and C-reactive protein (CRP)], and increased adiponectin. These data also suggest that other key components of metabolic syndrome are significantly improved by an increase of dairy food intake to an adequate level. (Stancliffe et al 2011)

Effects of Dairy Products in Weight Loss

High dairy fat intake related to less central obesity: A male cohort study with 12 years’ follow-up.
A low intake of dairy fat at baseline (no butter and low fat milk and seldom/never whipping cream) was associated with a higher risk of developing central obesity and a high intake of dairy fat (butter as spread and high fat milk and whipping cream) was associated with a lower risk of central obesity as compared with medium intake (all other combinations of spread, milk, and cream) after adjustment for intake of fruit and vegetables, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, age, education, and profession. The associations between dairy fat intake and central obesity were consistent across body mass index categories at baseline. Conclusion. A high intake of dairy fat was associated with a lower risk of central obesity and a low dairy fat intake was associated with a higher risk of central obesity. (Homberg & Thelin 2013)

Effect of dairy consumption on weight and body composition in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials.
Overall, mean difference for the effect of dairy on body weight was -0.61 kg (95% confidence interval. Increased dairy intake resulted in 0.72 kg greater reduction in fat mass, 0.58 kg gain in lean mass and 2.19 cm further reduction in WC than that in controls. Subgroup analysis revealed that increasing dairy intake without energy restriction in both intervention and control groups does not significantly affect weight, body fat mass, lean mass and WC; consumption of high-dairy weight loss diets led to 1.29 kg greater weight loss, 1.11 kg greater reduction in body fat mass, 0.72 kg gain in body lean mass and 2.43 cm additional reduction in WC compared with controls. Increased dairy consumption without energy restriction might not lead to a significant change in weight or body composition; whereas inclusion of dairy products in energy-restricted weight loss diets significantly affects weight, body fat mass, lean mass and WC compared with that in the usual weight loss diets. (Abargouei et al 2012)

Dairy calcium intake, serum Vitamin D and successful weight loss.
The objective was to assess the association of dairy calcium intake and serum vitamin D with weight loss. Our study suggests that both higher dairy calcium intake and increased serum vitamin D are related to greater diet-induced weight loss. (Shahar et al 2010)

 CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) significantly decreases women’s BMI and total body fat.
A study conducted by Ohio State University found that CLA supplementation significantly decreased women’s BMI and total body fat.  Dr. Belury, the senior author of the study which is set for publication in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, believes adiponectin might have triggered the body’s ability to burn dietary fats. Adiponectin appears to increase insulin sensitivity.  Low levels of adiponectin are associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. (Sharma and Tarnopolsky 2005)

Diets that include > or =3 daily servings of dairy products result in significant reductions in adipose tissue mass in obese humans.
Dairy sources of calcium markedly attenuate weight and fat gain and accelerate fat loss to a greater degree than do supplemental sources of calcium. This augmented effect of dairy products relative to supplemental calcium is likely due to additional bioactive compounds, including the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and the rich concentration of branched-chain amino acids in whey, which act synergistically with calcium to attenuate adiposity. These concepts are confirmed by epidemiologic data and recent clinical trials, which indicate that diets that include > or =3 daily servings of dairy products result in significant reductions in adipose tissue mass in obese humans in the absence of caloric restriction and markedly accelerate weight and body fat loss secondary to caloric restriction compared with diets low in dairy products. These data indicate an important role for dairy products in both the prevention and treatment of obesity. (Zemel MB 2004)

For more information on this subject please read our article on “Understanding Obesity”.

Miscellaneous Benefits of Dairy Products

Dairy-Food, Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D Intake and Endometriosis: A Prospective Cohort Study.
Intakes of total and low-fat dairy foods were associated with a lower risk of endometriosis. Women consuming more than 3 servings of total dairy foods per day were 18% less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis than those reporting 2 servings per day (rate ratio = 0.82, 95% confidence interval: 0.71, 0.95; P(trend) = 0.03). In addition, predicted plasma 25(OH)D level was inversely associated with endometriosis. Women in the highest quintile of predicted vitamin D level had a 24% lower risk of endometriosis than women in the lowest quintile (rate ratio = 0.76, 95% confidence interval: 0.60, 0.97; P(trend) = 0.004). Our findings suggest that greater predicted plasma 25(OH)D levels and higher intake of dairy foods are associated with a decreased risk of endometriosis. (Harris et al 2013)

Milk and dairy products: a unique combination of fat and water soluble vitamins and minerals.
From a nutritional point of view, it is largely admitted that milk and dairy products are important sources of Ca, Mg, Zn, and Se. The vitamin fraction of milk and dairy products is composed of lipophilic (A, D, E, and K) and hydrophilic (B(1), B(2), B(3), B(5), B(6), B(8), B(9), B(12), and C) vitamins. Because of their hydrophobic properties, the lipophilic vitamins are mainly in the milk fat fraction (cream, butter). The hydrophilic vitamins are in the aqueous phase of milk. Milk and dairy products are excellent sources of Ca, P, Mg, Zn, and Se. Milk and dairy products are excellent sources of vitamins A, B(1), B(2), and B(12). (Gaucheron F 2011)

Diets Higher in Dairy Foods and Dietary Protein Support Bone Health during Diet and Exercise-Induced Weight Loss in Overweight Premenopausal Women
Consolidation and maintenance of peak bone mass in young adulthood may be compromised by inactivity, low dietary calcium, and diet-induced weight loss. We aimed to determine whether higher intakes of dairy foods, dietary calcium, and protein during diet- and exercise-induced weight loss affected markers of bone health. Participants included premenopausal overweight and obese women. Ninety participants were randomized into three groups (n = 30 per group): high protein and high dairy (HPHD), adequate protein and medium dairy (APMD), and adequate protein and low dairy (APLD), differing in dietary protein , dairy foods , and dietary calcium. Hypoenergetic diets higher in dairy foods, dietary calcium, and protein with daily exercise, favorably affected important bone health biomarkers vs. diets with less of these bone-supporting nutrients. (Josse et al 2011)

Low-fat foods consumers had a higher intake of carbohydrates and proteins questioning the efficacy of these items in energy reducing programs.
Consumption of low-fat foods was associated with a decreased daily total and saturated fat intake, from respectively, 37.9 and 14.7 energy-percent for low consumption to 30.5 and 11.6 energy-percent for high consumption. This decrease was compensated by an increased intake in carbohydrates and sugar, respectively, 42.5 and 16.7 energy-percent to 46.5 and 22.6 energy-percent. Conclusions: age, BMI, physical activity and non-smoking were associated with an increasing consumption of low-fat foods. The fact that low-fat foods consumers had a higher intake of carbohydrates and proteins question the efficacy of these items in energy reducing programs. (Mullie et al 2011)

Dietary CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) enhances endurance in animal study.
Decreased the serum concentrations of triglycerides, nonesterified fatty acids, and urea nitrogen and significantly reduced the consumption of liver glycogen. The present study demonstrated that dietary CLA enhances the endurance capacity of mice by increasing fat utilization and reducing the consumption of stored liver glycogen as substrates for energy metabolism. (Kim et al 2010)

Dietary CLA supplementation enhances the early stage of cutaneous wound healing as a result of modulating oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.
Inflammatory response is considered the most important period that regulates the entire healing process. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a class of linoleic acid positional and geometric isomers, is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We hypothesized that dietary CLA supplementation accelerates cutaneous wound healing by regulating antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. To investigate wound closure rates and inflammatory responses, we used a full-thickness excisional wound model after 2-week treatments with control, 0.5%, or 1% CLA-supplemented diet. Mice fed dietary CLA supplementation had reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory markers. Moreover, the wound closure rate was improved significantly in mice fed a 1% CLA-supplemented diet during early stage of wound healing (inflammatory stage). We conclude that dietary CLA supplementation enhances the early stage of cutaneous wound healing as a result of modulating oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. (Park et al 2010)

Fermented milk as a therapy for gastritis.
Gastritis is a common disorder where discontinuity of the gastric mucosa is observed. It is caused by several factors, such as alcohol, stress, infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), resulting in an imbalance between offensive acid-pepsin secretion and defensive mucosal factors like mucin secretion and cell shedding. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as acetyl-salicylic acid (ASA) are used worldwide as anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents in the treatment of chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis as well as for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. However, gastrointestinal injury is a serious adverse effect of NSAIDs producing a broad range of toxic effects mainly in the stomach, the toxicity of ASA being attributed to direct damage of mucosal cells. Furthermore, ASA affects various mucosal defense lines such as bicarbonate secretion, mucus synthesis, decrease of mucosal blood flow with amplification of the inflammatory process by expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This study suggests that fermented milk with S. thermophilus CRL 1190 and/or its EPS could be used in novel functional foods as an alternative natural therapy for chronic gastritis induced by ASA. (Rodriguez et al 2010)

Dietary conjugated linoleic acid increases endurance capacity of mice during treadmill exercise.
Dietary CLA decreased the serum concentrations of triglycerides, nonesterified fatty acids, and urea nitrogen and significantly reduced the consumption of liver glycogen. The present study demonstrated that dietary CLA enhances the endurance capacity of mice by increasing fat utilization and reducing the consumption of stored liver glycogen as substrates for energy metabolism. (Kim et al 2010)

Cow’s milk increases the activities of human PPARalpha, PPARdelta, and RXRalpha.
The nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) have been shown to play crucial roles in regulating energy homeostasis including lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, inflammatory responses, and cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival. Because PPAR agonists have the potential to prevent or ameliorate diseases such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and obesity, we have explored new natural agonists for PPAR. This study unambiguously clarified at the cellular level that cow’s milk increased the activities of human PPARalpha, PPARdelta, and RXRalpha. The possible role in enhancing the activities of PPARalpha, PPARdelta, and RXRalpha, and the health benefits of cow’s milk were discussed. (Suhara et al 2009)

Supplementation of Diets with Fermented Dairy Products or Lactic Acid Bacteria Containing Dairy Products

Supplementation of diets with fermented dairy products or lactic acid bacteria containing dairy products has shown the potential to reduce serum cholesterol levels. Various approaches have been used to alleviate this issue, including the use of probiotics, especially Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp.. Probiotics, the living microorganisms that confer health benefits on the host when administered in adequate amounts, have received much attention on their proclaimed health benefits which include improvement in lactose intolerance, increase in natural resistance to infectious disease in gastrointestinal tract, suppression of cancer, antidiabetic, reduction in serum cholesterol level, and improved digestion. In addition, there are numerous reports on the cholesterol removal ability of probiotics and their hypocholesterolemic effects. (Kumar et al 2012)

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Compassionate Acupuncture and Healing Arts, providing craniosacral acupuncture, herbal and nutritional medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Phone number 919-475-1005.

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