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Obes Rev. 2007 Mar;8(2):109-18.

Milk and the metabolic syndrome.

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Institute for Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food, Kiel, Germany.


The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders, namely dyslipidaemia, hypertension, obesity and glucose intolerance. Insulin resistance is the core phenomenon. Co-occurrence is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Observational studies found no increased CVD risk with increasing consumption of milk and other dairy products. In several studies dairy consumption was inversely associated with the occurrence of one or several facets of the metabolic syndrome. Many dairy components may contribute to the beneficial effects. Milk and particularly whey appeared insulinotropic when given in a single meal, but not in longer-term intervention. Medium chain fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity. Whey proteins, amino acids, medium chain fatty acids and in particular calcium and other minerals may contribute to the beneficial effect of dairy products on body weight and body fat. Peptides, calcium and other minerals reduce blood pressure. Fermented products and probiotic bacteria decrease absorption of cholesterol, sphingomyelin of cholesterol and fat, calcium of cholesterol, bile acids and fat. Proteins, peptides and bacteria may also reduce plasma cholesterol. Lactose, citrate, proteins and peptides improve weight control, blood pressure and plasma lipids indirectly, by improving calcium bioavailability. Furthermore, dairy consumption improves the bioavailability of folate and other secondary plant components.

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