Exploring the Links between Diet and Inflammation: Dairy Foods as Case Studies

Adv Nutr. 2021 Oct 11;12(Suppl 1):1S-13S. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab108.


Systemic chronic inflammation may be a contributing factor to many noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. With the rapid rise of these conditions, identifying the causes of and treatment for chronic inflammation is an important research priority, especially with regard to modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet. An emerging body of evidence indicates that consuming certain foods, including dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt, may be linked to a decreased risk for inflammation. To discuss both broader research on diet and inflammation as well as research on links between individual foods and inflammation, the National Dairy Council sponsored a satellite session entitled "Exploring the Links between Diet and Inflammation: Dairy Foods as Case Studies" at the American Society for Nutrition's 2020 LIVE ONLINE Conference. This article, a review based on the topics discussed during that session, explores the links between diet and inflammation, focusing most closely on the relations between intake of dairy fat and dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt, and biomarkers of inflammation from clinical trials. While there is currently insufficient evidence to prove an "anti-inflammatory" effect of dairy foods, the substantial body of clinical research discussed in this review indicates that dairy foods do not increase concentrations of biomarkers of chronic systemic inflammation.

Keywords: chronic disease; dairy; diet; immune system; inflammation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cheese*
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Milk
  • Risk Factors
  • Yogurt