Background: Associations between dairy intake and body mass index (BMI) have been inconsistently observed in epidemiological studies, and the causal relationship remains ill defined.
Methods: We performed Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis using an established dairy intake-associated genetic polymorphism located upstream of the lactase gene (LCT-13910 C/T, rs4988235) as an instrumental variable (IV). Linear regression models were fitted to analyze associations between (a) dairy intake and BMI, (b) rs4988235 and dairy intake, and (c) rs4988235 and BMI in each study. The causal effect of dairy intake on BMI was quantified by IV estimators among 184802 participants from 25 studies.
Results: Higher dairy intake was associated with higher BMI (β = 0.03 kg/m2 per serving/day; 95% CI, 0.00-0.06; P = 0.04), whereas the LCT genotype with 1 or 2 T allele was significantly associated with 0.20 (95% CI, 0.14-0.25) serving/day higher dairy intake (P = 3.15 × 10-12) and 0.12 (95% CI, 0.06-0.17) kg/m2 higher BMI (P = 2.11 × 10-5). MR analysis showed that the genetically determined higher dairy intake was significantly associated with higher BMI (β = 0.60 kg/m2 per serving/day; 95% CI, 0.27-0.92; P = 3.0 × 10-4).
Conclusions: The present study provides strong evidence to support a causal effect of higher dairy intake on increased BMI among adults.
© 2017 American Association for Clinical Chemistry.