Lifestyle modifications in the form of diet and exercise are generally a first-line approach to reduce
hypertensive risk and overall cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Accumulating research evidence has revealed that
consumption of non- and low-fat dairy products incorporated into the routine diet is an effective means to reduce elevated
blood pressure and improve vascular functions. However, the idea of incorporating whole-fat or full-fat dairy products in
the normal routine diet as a strategy to reduce CVD risk has been met with controversy. The aim of this review is to
review both sides of the argument surrounding saturated fat intake and CVD risk from the standpoint of dairy intake.
Throughout the review, we examined observational studies on relationships between CVD risk and dairy consumption,
dietary intervention studies using non-fat and whole-fat dairy, and mechanistic studies investigating physiological
mechanisms of saturated fat intake that may help to explain increases in cardiovascular disease risk. Currently available
data have demonstrated that whole-fat dairy is unlikely to augment hypertensive risk when added to the normal routine
diet but may negatively impact CVD risk. In conclusion, whole-fat dairy may not be a recommended alternative to non- or
low-fat dairy products as a means to reduce hypertensive or overall CVD risk.
Keywords: Full-fat, whole fat, dairy, blood pressure, CVD, hypertension
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