Dietary yogurt is distinct from other dairy foods in its association with circulating lipid profile: Findings from the Million Veteran Program

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2021 Jun:43:456-463. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2021.02.022. Epub 2021 Mar 20.


Background & aims: Dyslipidemia is a major cardiovascular disease risk factor. Research has proposed mechanisms whereby yogurt may improve circulating lipid concentrations. However, at the population level, the association of yogurt, as distinct from other dairy foods, with these important risk factors is poorly understood. This study aimed to determine whether the circulating lipid profile associated with yogurt is different to the circulating lipid profile that is associated with non-yogurt dairy products, specifically milk and cheese.

Methods: The current study included the 192,564 US Veterans enrolled in the Million Veteran Program who reported frequency of yogurt consumption (assessed via food frequency questionnaire) and had lipid concentrations assessed. Trends were evaluated with linear regression. Mean age was 65 (SD = 11) years [20, 100 years].

Results: A one serve/day higher yogurt consumption was positively associated (coefficient ± SE) with the concentration of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) in individuals who were not (0.26 ± 0.12 mg/dL, P value = 0.025), and who were (0.25 ± 0.09, P value = 0.004), using antilipemic agents. Furthermore, higher yogurt consumption was inversely associated with the concentration of triglycerides, but only in individuals who were not using antilipemic agents (-1.46 ± 0.58, P value = 0.012).

Conclusion: These apparent beneficial associations of yogurt with HDLC and triglycerides were independent of consumption of non-yogurt dairy foods and were not observed for consumption of either milk or cheese. In this prospective cohort study of U.S. Veterans, we found a beneficial relationship between higher frequency of yogurt consumption with circulating HDLC and triglyceride concentrations that was distinct from non-yogurt dairy foods.

Keywords: Cholesterol; Dairy; Food frequency questionnaire; Lipid; Triglyceride; Yogurt.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Milk
  • Prospective Studies
  • Veterans*
  • Yogurt


  • Lipids