Effect of dairy calcium from cheese and milk on fecal fat excretion, blood lipids, and appetite in young men

Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5):984-91. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.077735. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Background: Calcium from different dairy sources might affect blood lipids and fecal fat excretion differently because of differences in the food matrix and nutritional composition.

Objective: We investigated whether milk- and cheese-based diets with similar calcium contents affect a saturated fatty acid-induced increase in blood lipids differently.

Design: Fifteen healthy, young men participated in a randomized 3 × 2-wk crossover study in which the following 3 isocaloric diets that were similar in fat contents and compositions were compared: control diet [nondairy diet (~500 mg Ca/d)], milk diet [semiskimmed milk-based diet (1700 mg Ca/d)], and cheese diet [semihard cow-cheese-based diet (1700 mg Ca/d)]. Blood was drawn before and after each period, and feces were collected for 5 d during each period.

Results: Saturated fatty acid-induced increases in total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were lower with the milk diet (mean ± SD: 0.57 ± 0.13 and 0.53 ± 0.11 mmol/L, respectively) (P < 0.01) and cheese diet (0.41 ± 0.15 and 0.47 ± 0.12 mmol/L, respectively) (P < 0.05) than with the control diet (0.89 ± 0.12 and 0.84 ± 0.11 mmol/L, respectively). Fecal fat excretion increased more with the consumption of both the milk (5.2 ± 0.4 g/d) and cheese (5.7 ± 0.4 g/d) diets than with the control diet (3.9 ± 0.3 g/d) (P < 0.001). Changes in blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipid ratios did not differ.

Conclusions: Compared with the control diet, milk- and cheese-based diets attenuated saturated fatty acid-induced increases in total and LDL cholesterol and resulted in increased fecal fat excretion; however, effects of milk and cheese did not differ. Because the diets contained similar amounts of saturated fat, similar increases in total and LDL cholesterol could be expected; however, both milk and cheese attenuated these responses, which seem to be explained by their calcium contents. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01317251.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Cheese*
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Milk*
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Fatty Acids
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01317251