Can Dairy Intake Decrease Metabolic Syndrome Risk?

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Medical researchers have suggested that dairy products protect against metabolic syndrome (MetS), decreasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, altered glucose homeostasis, and dyslipidemia.

Medical researchers have suggested that dairy products protect against metabolic syndrome (MetS), decreasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, altered glucose homeostasis, and dyslipidemia. Most of them have been quick to add the caveat that skim milk or other low-fat dairy products are preferable to full-fat products, as MetS patients frequently experience chronic, low-grade general inflammation.

In the January 2014 issue of Maturitas, 2 researchers from CHU de Québec Research Center in Canada reviewed the current literature related to MetS risk factors and dairy consumption. The authors presented several well-documented findings, including:

  • Study results concerning the relationship between dairy consumption and weight loss have been mixed. Patients who increase dairy consumption and lose weight usually combine calorie-restricted diets with dairy product consumption.
  • Only a few studies have linked dairy consumption to improved plasma lipids, blood pressure, glucose homeostasis, or inflammatory and oxidative stress profiles.
  • Although some studies have shown that dairy consumption improves inflammatory and oxidative stress profiles, none of those trials were conducted in real-world settings.
  • Adults should consume at least 2-3 servings of dairy products per day as part of a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for metabolic health. Whether or not higher dairy product consumption has additional beneficial effects remains unclear.

Increasing evidence seems to demonstrate that dairy products contribute to good health. Encouraging patients who have MetS to increase their dairy intake might be a good strategy to decrease MetS risk factors.

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