Reformulation initiative for partial replacement of saturated with unsaturated fats in dairy foods attenuates the increase in LDL cholesterol and improves flow-mediated dilatation compared with conventional dairy: the randomized, controlled REplacement of SaturatEd fat in dairy on Total cholesterol (RESET) study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 Apr 1;111(4):739-748. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz344.


Background: Modifying dairy fat composition by increasing the MUFA content is a potential strategy to reduce dietary SFA intake for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention in the population.

Objectives: To determine the effects of consuming SFA-reduced, MUFA-enriched (modified) dairy products, compared with conventional dairy products (control), on the fasting cholesterol profile (primary outcome), endothelial function assessed by flow-mediated dilatation (FMD; key secondary outcome), and other cardiometabolic risk markers.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized, controlled crossover 12-wk intervention was conducted. Participants with a 1.5-fold higher (moderate) CVD risk than the population mean replaced habitual dairy products with study products (milk, cheese, and butter) to achieve a high-fat, high-dairy isoenergetic daily dietary exchange [38% of total energy intake (%TE) from fat: control (dietary target: 19%TE SFA; 11%TE MUFA) and modified (16%TE SFA; 14%TE MUFA) diet].

Results: Fifty-four participants (57.4% men; mean ± SEM age: 52 ± 3 y; BMI: 25.8 ± 0.5 kg/m2) completed the study. The modified diet attenuated the rise in fasting LDL cholesterol observed with the control diet (0.03 ± 0.06 mmol/L and 0.19 ± 0.05 mmol/L, respectively; P = 0.03). Relative to baseline, the %FMD response increased after the modified diet (0.35% ± 0.15%), whereas a decrease was observed after the control diet (-0.51% ± 0.15%; P< 0.0001). In addition, fasting plasma nitrite concentrations increased after the modified diet, yet decreased after the control diet (0.02 ± 0.01 μmol/L and -0.03 ± 0.02 μmol/L, respectively; P = 0.01).

Conclusions: In adults at moderate CVD risk, consumption of a high-fat diet containing SFA-reduced, MUFA-enriched dairy products for 12 wk showed beneficial effects on fasting LDL cholesterol and endothelial function compared with conventional dairy products. Our findings indicate that fatty acid modification of dairy products may have potential as a public health strategy aimed at CVD risk reduction. This trial was registered at as NCT02089035.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease risk; cholesterol profile; dairy fat; flow-mediated dilatation; food chain approach; monounsaturated fatty acids; reformulation; saturated fatty acids; vascular function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Dilatation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fats, Unsaturated / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated

Associated data