Background: Growing evidence suggests that dairy products may have beneficial cardiometabolic effects. The current guidelines, however, limit the intake of full-fat dairy products.
Objective: We investigated the association of dairy consumption, types of dairy products, and dairy fat content with metabolic syndrome (MetSyn).
Methods: We analyzed baseline data of the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil), a multicenter cohort study of 15,105 adults aged 35-74 y. We excluded participants with known diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or other chronic diseases, and those who had extreme values of energy intake, leaving 9835 for analysis. Dairy consumption was assessed by a food-frequency questionnaire. We computed servings per day for total and subgroups of dairy intake. We computed a metabolic risk score (MetScore) as the mean z score of waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol (negative z score), fasting triglycerides, and fasting glucose. We performed multivariable linear regression to test the association of servings per day of dairy products with MetScore.
Results: In analyses that adjusted for demographics, menopausal status, family history of diabetes, dietary intake, nondietary lifestyle factors, and body mass index, we observed a graded inverse association for MetScore with total dairy (-0.044 ± 0.01, P = 0.009 for each additional dairy servings per day) and full-fat dairy (-0.126 ± 0.03, P < 0.001) but not with low-fat dairy intake. Associations were no longer present after additional adjustments for dairy-derived saturated fatty acids.
Conclusions: Total and especially full-fat dairy food intakes are inversely and independently associated with metabolic syndrome in middle-aged and older adults, associations that seem to be mediated by dairy saturated fatty acids. Dietary recommendations to avoid full-fat dairy intake are not supported by our findings.
Keywords: cohort study; dairy consumption; diabetes; metabolic syndrome; saturated fatty acids.
© 2016 American Society for Nutrition.