The objective of this systematic review was to determine if dairy product consumption is detrimental, neutral, or beneficial to cardiovascular health and if the recommendation to consume reduced-fat as opposed to regular-fat dairy is evidence-based. A systematic review of meta-analyses of prospective population studies associating dairy consumption with cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke, hypertension, metabolic syndrome (MetS), and type 2 diabetes (T2D) was conducted on the basis of the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement. Quality of evidence was rated by using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation scale. High-quality evidence supports favorable associations between total dairy intake and hypertension risk and between low-fat dairy and yogurt intake and the risk of T2D. Moderate-quality evidence suggests favorable associations between intakes of total dairy, low-fat dairy, cheese, and fermented dairy and the risk of stroke; intakes of low-fat dairy and milk and the risk of hypertension; total dairy and milk consumption and the risk of MetS; and total dairy and cheese and the risk of T2D. High- to moderate-quality evidence supports neutral associations between the consumption of total dairy, cheese, and yogurt and CVD risk; the consumption of any form of dairy, except for fermented, and CAD risk; the consumption of regular- and high-fat dairy, milk, and yogurt and stroke risk; the consumption of regular- and high-fat dairy, cheese, yogurt, and fermented dairy and hypertension risk; and the consumption of regular- and high-fat dairy, milk, and fermented dairy and T2D risk. Data from this systematic review indicate that the consumption of various forms of dairy products shows either favorable or neutral associations with cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes. The review also emphasizes that further research is urgently needed to compare the impact of low-fat with regular- and high-fat dairy on cardiovascular-related clinical outcomes in light of current recommendations to consume low-fat dairy.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; cheese; coronary artery disease; dairy; hypertension; metabolic syndrome; milk; stroke; type 2 diabetes; yogurt.
© 2016 American Society for Nutrition.