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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Oct;90(4):960-8. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27664. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

Dairy products and metabolic effects in overweight men and women: results from a 6-mo intervention study.

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Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.



Some epidemiologic studies have suggested inverse relations between intake of dairy products and components of the metabolic syndrome.


The objective was to investigate the effects of an increased intake of dairy products in persons with a habitually low intake on body composition and factors related to the metabolic syndrome.


Middle-aged overweight subjects (n = 121) with traits of the metabolic syndrome were recruited in Finland, Norway, and Sweden and randomly assigned into milk or control groups. The milk group was instructed to consume 3-5 portions of dairy products daily. The control group maintained their habitual diet. Clinical investigations were conducted on admission and after 6 mo.


There were no significant differences between changes in body weight or body composition, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, endothelial function, adiponectin, or oxidative stress in the milk and the control groups. There was a modest unfavorable increase in serum cholesterol concentrations in the milk group (P = 0.043). Among participants with a low calcium intake at baseline (<700 mg/d), there was a significant treatment effect for waist circumference (P = 0.003) and sagittal abdominal diameter (P = 0.034). When the sexes were analyzed separately, leptin increased (P = 0.045) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 decreased (P = 0.001) in women in the milk group.


This study gives no clear support to the hypothesis that a moderately increased intake of dairy products beneficially affects aspects of the metabolic syndrome. The apparently positive effects on waist circumference and sagittal abdominal diameter in subjects with a low calcium intake suggest a possible threshold in relation to effects on body composition.

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