Consumption of regular-fat vs reduced-fat cheese reveals gender-specific changes in LDL particle size - a randomized controlled trial

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Background: Regular-fat cheese does not seem to increase low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations compared to reduced-fat cheese. However, plasma LDL-C concentrations do not reflect levels and size of LDL particles, which might be a better predictor of cardiovascular risk.

Methods: The aim was to compare the effects of regular-fat cheese vs reduced-fat cheese and carbohydrate-rich foods on LDL particle size distribution in adults with ≥ 2 metabolic syndrome (MetS) risk factors. The study was part of a 12 weeks’ randomized controlled trial in which subjects had been randomly allocated to 1 of 3 intervention groups; regular-fat cheese (REG), reduced-fat cheese (RED) or a no-cheese/carbohydrate (CHO) group. Subjects in the REG and RED groups consumed 80 g cheese/d per 10 MJ, whereas subjects in the CHO consumed bread and jam corresponding to 90 g/d and 25 g/d per 10 MJ, respectively. Fasting blood samples at wk. 0 (baseline) and wk. 12 were analyzed for LDL particle size distribution and cholesterol content using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

Results: A total of 85 subjects [mean ± SD age: 54.0 ± 12.8 y; BMI: 28.7 ± 3.6 kg/m2] completed the study. Overall, regular-fat cheese did not impact lipoprotein particle number and size differently than reduced-fat cheese. In men (n = 23), the REG diet decreased total LDL particle number (LDL-P, − 223.2 ± 91.1 nmol/l, P = 0.01) compared with the RED diet. The reduction was primarily in the medium-sized LDL fraction (− 128.5 ± 51.8 nmol/l, P = 0.01). In women (n = 62), the REG diet increased the concentration of cholesterol in the small high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles compared with the CHO diet (2.9 ± 1.0 mg/dl, P = 0.006).

Conclusion: Overall, regular-fat cheese did not alter LDL particle size distribution compared to reduced-fat cheese after a 12 wk. intervention in subjects with ≥2 MetS risk factors. However, our results suggest that lipoprotein response to cheese intake is gender-specific. This warrants further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalNutrition & Metabolism
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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