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Effect of whole milk compared with skimmed milk on fasting blood lipids in healthy adults: a 3-week randomized crossover study

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Sara Engel, Mie Elhauge, Tine Tholstrup

Background/objectives Dietary guidelines have for decades recommended choosing low-fat dairy products due to the high content of saturated fat in dairy known to increase blood concentration of LDL cholesterol. However, meta-analyses including observational studies show no association between overall dairy intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and even point to an inverse association with type 2 diabetes. The objective was to compare the effects of whole milk (3.5% fat) with skimmed milk (0.1% fat) on fasting serum blood lipids, insulin, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects.
Subject/methods A randomized, controlled 2 × 3-week crossover dietary intervention in 18 healthy adults randomly assigned to a sequence of treatments consisting of 0.5 L/d of whole milk and skimmed milk as part of their habitual diet. A total of 17 subjects completed the intervention.
Results Whole milk increased HDL cholesterol concentrations significantly compared to skimmed milk (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences between whole milk and skimmed milk in effects on total and LDL cholesterol, triacylglycerol, insulin, and glucose concentrations.
Conclusions Intake of 0.5 L/d of whole milk did not adversely affect fasting blood lipids, glucose, or insulin compared to skimmed milk. Moreover, intake of whole milk increased HDL cholesterol concentration compared to skimmed milk. These findings suggest that if the higher energy content is taken into account, whole milk might be considered a part of a healthy diet among the normocholesterolemic population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)249-254
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 186646447