More Dairy, Less Metabolic Syndrome?
Fewer Risk Factors for Heart Disease Seen in Men Who Eat Lots of Dairy Foods
Nov. 16, 2005 (Dallas) -- Dairy products may ward off metabolic syndrome, a
cluster of risk factors that puts a person at greater risk for diabetes and
heart disease, French researchers report.
But before rushing out the door to get a milkshake or a triple-scoop ice
cream cone, the researchers advise that skim milk or other low-fat dairy
products are the best route to go.
"There is an association of high dairy consumption and the lower
probability of metabolic syndrome," says Vanin Bongard, MD, PhD, of the
University School of Medicine in Toulouse, France. "However, it is
important to differentiate between low- and high-fat dairy products.
Individuals should drink skim milk and eat low-fat yogurt."
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart
What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
To be diagnosed with triglycerides, reduced HDL
"good" cholesterol, high blood pressure, and an elevated fasting
glucose (blood sugar).
an individual must meet at list three of five
criteria: a large waistline, elevated fasting
The researchers studied 1,072 French men, ages 45 to 64 years, and asked
them to keep a diary of all drinks and food eaten for a period of three days.
Then the men were divided into five groups according to their reported dairy
Dairy vs. Metabolic Syndrome
What they found was that the group with the highest dairy consumption was
40% less likely to have metabolic syndrome, compared with the group of men with
the lowest dairy consumption.
Also noted was that overweight men who had a high consumption of dairy
products were 61% less likely to have metabolic syndrome.
The amount of dairy products consumed by the men ranged from 89 grams to 332
grams of dairy products daily -- the amount of a large glass of milk.
Prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the men ranged from about 33% in men
with the lowest dairy consumption to about 22% in men with the highest dairy
In addition, eating a diet high in dairy products was associated with a
smaller waist circumference, lower blood pressure, and lower triglyceride
levels, the study showed.
Dairy and Lifestyle
The researchers warn that the study only produced an association between
dairy products and metabolic syndrome and therefore the connection has yet to
"Further study is needed," says Bongard.
It also appeared that the men who drank more milk and ate more dairy
products may have taken better care of themselves, the researchers say.
"They also tended to exercise more, drink less alcohol, and smoke
less," says researcher Jean Dallongeville, MD, PhD, of the Institute
Pasteur de Lille, France.
More study is required before exact recommendations can be given, he
The study is interesting, but it is "unclear" whether there is a
cause- and-effect relationship, says Robert Eckel, MD, president of the
American Heart Association.