Dairy & Cancer Risk, Fermented Foods & Cardiovascular Disease, & More

  • Article
  • 3 min read August 1, 2019

In this edition, we cover new research on dairy and cancer risk, Greek yogurt and other fermented foods, the relationship between dairy foods and diabetes risk and more.

Research suggests low consumption of dairy and whole grains linked to increased risk of cancer
More than 80,000 new cancer cases in 2015 were associated with poor diet among U.S. adults. A new study found that low consumption of whole grains and dairy and high intake of processed meats contributed to the highest association of diet-related cases of cancer.

Cheese can be part of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for people with metabolic syndrome
A recent study showed that participants with metabolic syndrome (MetS) defined as having at least three of the five risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, high blood glucose and abdominal obesity who followed a low-carbohydrate (LC), high-fat diet that included cheese (200 grams per day or about five servings per day of cheddar and/or Gouda) — were able to reverse metabolic syndrome (in over half of participants or nine out of 16), independent of weight loss. Read more about this study in this blog post, too.

New research shows that eating Greek yogurt can help improve changes in body composition
A new study found that eating Greek yogurt (20 grams protein) vs. a placebo pudding (0 grams protein) helped to improve changes in body composition and muscle strength following 12 weeks of exercise training in 30 healthy, college-aged men (18 to 25 years old). The men ate either yogurt or the pudding three times a day on training days and two times a day on non-training days. Both groups showed increases in strength, muscle thickness and fat-free mass. The Greek yogurt group gained more total strength, more bicep muscular thickness, more fat-free mass and reduced percent body fat compared to the placebo pudding. The results of this study are consistent with other studies that have shown increased dairy protein intake helps optimize strength adaptation during a recurring resistance training program.

Researchers suggest that yogurt and fermented foods may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease in women
A 15-year longitudinal study on women’s health followed 7,633 women (45 to 50 years old at baseline in 2001) in Australia to investigate the association between eating fermented dairy foods and the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. High consumption of yogurt (i.e., half cup per day) and total fermented dairy foods (i.e., half cup per day) was found to be associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk as compared to those eating the lowest amount of dairy foods.

A study shows that milk polar lipids improve biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk and may help decrease cholesterol absorption
A four-week double-blind randomized dietary controlled trial in 58 overweight, post-menopausal women at risk of cardiovascular disease tested the effects of eating cream cheese daily with either 0 grams (control), 3 grams or 5 grams of milk polar lipids (MPL), which are found naturally in milk fat globules and help modulate lipid metabolism. Main effects on the reduction of blood lipids (i.e., TC, LDL-C, TG, TC/HDL-C ratio, ApoB, ApoB/ApoA1 ratio) were seen after eating the cream cheese with 5 grams of MPL vs. control group. Additionally, the study also showed that MPL decreased cholesterol absorption, suggesting that the blood-lipid-lowering effects of MPL may reduce intestinal cholesterol absorption.

Dairy foods linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes
A new systematic review and meta-analysis investigated whether the associations between eating dairy foods and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease differs among males and females. This meta-analysis found that type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are inversely associated with dairy consumption. Subgroup analysis showed that the inverse association between dairy and type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease was significant for women but not men. The researchers concluded that dairy consumption was linked to decreased risk of T2D and CVD and recommended servings were in line with the current recommendations for dairy consumption.