Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Curd


With a growing number of prospective cohort studies, an updated dose-response meta-analysis of milk and dairy products with all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease (CHD) or cardiovascular disease (CVD) have been conducted. PubMed, Embase and Scopus were searched for articles published up to September 2016. Random-effect meta-analyses with summarised dose-response data were performed for total (high-fat/low-fat) dairy, milk, fermented dairy, cheese and yogurt. Non-linear associations were investigated using the spine models and heterogeneity by subgroup analyses. A total of 29 cohort studies were available for meta-analysis, with 938,465 participants and 93,158 mortality, 28,419 CHD and 25,416 CVD cases. No associations were found for total (high-fat/low-fat) dairy, and milk with the health outcomes of mortality, CHD or CVD. Inverse associations were found between total fermented dairy (included sour milk products, cheese or yogurt; per 20 g/day) with mortality (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97-0.99; I(2) = 94.4%) and CVD risk (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97-0.99; I(2) = 87.5%). Further analyses of individual fermented dairy of cheese and yogurt showed cheese to have a 2% lower risk of CVD (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.95-1.00; I(2) = 82.6%) per 10 g/day, but not yogurt. All of these marginally inverse associations of totally fermented dairy and cheese were attenuated in sensitivity analyses by removing one large Swedish study. This meta-analysis combining data from 29 prospective cohort studies demonstrated neutral associations between dairy products and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. For future studies it is important to investigate in more detail how dairy products can be replaced by other foods.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Milk, Butter, Dairy, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Dairy products, Curd


The introduction of dairying was a critical step in early agriculture, with milk products being rapidly adopted as a major component of the diets of prehistoric farmers and pottery-using late hunter-gatherers. The processing of milk, particularly the production of cheese, would have been a critical development because it not only allowed the preservation of milk products in a non-perishable and transportable form, but also it made milk a more digestible commodity for early prehistoric farmers. The finding of abundant milk residues in pottery vessels from seventh millennium sites from north-western Anatolia provided the earliest evidence of milk processing, although the exact practice could not be explicitly defined. Notably, the discovery of potsherds pierced with small holes appear at early Neolithic sites in temperate Europe in the sixth millennium bc and have been interpreted typologically as ‘cheese-strainers’, although a direct association with milk processing has not yet been demonstrated. Organic residues preserved in pottery vessels have provided direct evidence for early milk use in the Neolithic period in the Near East and south-eastern Europe, north Africa, Denmark and the British Isles, based on the δ(13)C and Δ(13)C values of the major fatty acids in milk. Here we apply the same approach to investigate the function of sieves/strainer vessels, providing direct chemical evidence for their use in milk processing. The presence of abundant milk fat in these specialized vessels, comparable in form to modern cheese strainers, provides compelling evidence for the vessels having being used to separate fat-rich milk curds from the lactose-containing whey. This new evidence emphasizes the importance of pottery vessels in processing dairy products, particularly in the manufacture of reduced-lactose milk products among lactose-intolerant prehistoric farming communities.

Concepts: Milk, Butter, Europe, Cattle, Dairy, Neolithic, Cheese, Curd


Dairy foods are a complex source of essential nutrients. In this study, fluid dairy intake, specifically milk, and yogurt intakes were associated with hip but not spine bone mineral density (BMD), while cream may adversely influence BMD, suggesting that not all dairy products are equally beneficial for the skeleton. PURPOSE: This study seeks to examine associations of milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, most dairy (total dairy without cream), and fluid dairy (milk + yogurt) with BMD at femoral neck (FN), trochanter (TR), and spine, and with incident hip fracture over 12-year follow-up in the Framingham Offspring Study. METHODS: Three thousand two hundred twelve participants completed a food frequency questionnaire (1992-1995 or 1995-1998) and were followed for hip fracture until 2005. Two thousand five hundred and six participants had DXA BMD (1996-2001). Linear regression was used to estimate adjusted mean BMD while Cox-proportional hazards regression was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HR) for hip fracture risk. Final models simultaneously included dairy foods adjusting for each other. RESULTS: Mean baseline age was 55 (±1.6) years, range 26-85. Most dairy intake was positively associated with hip and spine BMD. Intake of fluid dairy and milk was related with hip but not spine BMD. Yogurt intake was associated with TR-BMD alone. Cheese and cream intakes were not associated with BMD. In final models, yogurt intake remained positively associated with TR-BMD, while cream tended to be negatively associated with FN-BMD. Yogurt intake showed a weak protective trend for hip fracture [HR(95%CI), ≤4 serv/week, 0.46 (0.21-1.03) vs. >4 serv/week, 0.43 (0.06-3.27)]. No other dairy groups showed a significant association (HRs range, 0.53-1.47) with limited power (n, fractures = 43). CONCLUSION: Milk and yogurt intakes were associated with hip but not spine BMD, while cream may adversely influence BMD. Thus, not all dairy products are equally beneficial for the skeleton. Suggestive fracture results for milk and yogurt intakes need further confirmation.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Milk, Butter, Dairy, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Dairy products, Curd


Dairy powder products (e.g., sweet whey, nonfat dry milk, acid whey, and whey protein concentrate-80) are of economic interest to the dairy industry. According to the US Dairy Export Council, customers have set strict tolerances (<500 to <1,000/g) for thermophilic and mesophilic spores in dairy powders; therefore, understanding proliferation and survival of sporeforming organisms within dairy powder processing plants is necessary to control and reduce sporeformer counts. Raw, work-in-process, and finished product samples were collected from 4 dairy powder processing facilities in the northeastern United States over a 1-yr period. Two separate spore treatments: (1) 80°C for 12 min (to detect sporeformers) and (2) 100°C for 30 min (to detect highly heat resistant sporeformers) were applied to samples before microbiological analyses. Raw material, work-in-process, and finished product samples were analyzed for thermophilic, mesophilic, and psychrotolerant sporeformers, with 77.5, 71.0, and 4.6% of samples being positive for those organisms, respectively. Work-in-process and finished product samples were also analyzed for highly heat resistant thermophilic and mesophilic sporeformers, with 63.7 and 42.6% of samples being positive, respectively. Sporeformer prevalence and counts varied considerably by product and plant; sweet whey and nonfat dry milk showed a higher prevalence of thermophilic and mesophilic sporeformers compared with acid whey and whey protein concentrate-80. Unlike previous reports, we found limited evidence for increased spore counts toward the end of processing runs. Our data provide important insight into spore contamination patterns associated with production of different types of dairy powders and support that thermophilic sporeformers are the primary organism of concern in dairy powders.

Concepts: Whey protein, Milk, Butter, Dairy product, Cheese, Whey, Dairy products, Curd


A higher milk consumption may be associated with a lower stroke risk. We conducted a comprehensive systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of milk and other dairy products in relation to stroke risk.

Concepts: Milk, Butter, Dairy, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Powdered milk, Ice cream, Curd


Foods consist of a large number of different nutrients that are contained in a complex structure. The nature of the food structure and the nutrients therein (i.e., the food matrix) will determine the nutrient digestion and absorption, thereby altering the overall nutritional properties of the food. Thus, the food matrix may exhibit a different relation with health indicators compared to single nutrients studied in isolation. The evidence for a dairy matrix effect was presented and discussed by an expert panel at a closed workshop, and the following consensus was reached: 1) Current evidence does not support a positive association between intake of dairy products and risk of cardiovascular disease (i.e., stroke and coronary heart disease) and type 2 diabetes. In contrast, fermented dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, generally show inverse associations. 2) Intervention studies have indicated that the metabolic effects of whole dairy may be different than those of single dairy constituents when considering the effects on body weight, cardiometabolic disease risk, and bone health. 3) Different dairy products seem to be distinctly linked to health effects and disease risk markers. 4) Different dairy structures and common processing methods may enhance interactions between nutrients in the dairy matrix, which may modify the metabolic effects of dairy consumption. 5) In conclusion, the nutritional values of dairy products should not be considered equivalent to their nutrient contents but, rather, be considered on the basis of the biofunctionality of the nutrients within dairy food structures. 6) Further research on the health effects of whole dairy foods is warranted alongside the more traditional approach of studying the health effects of single nutrients. Future diet assessments and recommendations should carefully consider the evidence of the effects of whole foods alongside the evidence of the effects of individual nutrients. Current knowledge gaps and recommendations for priorities in future research on dairy were identified and presented.

Concepts: Nutrition, Milk, Digestion, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Dairy products, Curd, Yoghurt


A number of intervention studies have reported that the prevalence of obesity may be in part inversely related to dairy food consumption while others report no association. We sought to examine relationships between energy, protein and calcium consumption from dairy foods (milk, yoghurt, cheese, dairy spreads, ice-cream) and adiposity including body mass index (BMI), waist (WC) and hip circumference (HC), and direct measures of body composition using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (% body fat and abdominal fat) in an opportunistic sample of 720 overweight/obese Australian men and women. Mean (SD) age, weight and BMI of the population were 51 ± 10 year, 94 ± 18 kg and 32.4 ± 5.7 kg/m2, respectively. Reduced fat milk was the most commonly consumed dairy product (235 ± 200 g/day), followed by whole milk (63 ± 128 g/day) and yoghurt (53 ± 66 g/day). Overall dairy food consumption (g/day) was inversely associated with BMI, % body fat and WC (all p < 0.05). Dairy protein and dairy calcium (g/day) were both inversely associated with all adiposity measures (all p < 0.05). Yoghurt consumption (g/day) was inversely associated with % body fat, abdominal fat, WC and HC (all p < 0.05), while reduced fat milk consumption was inversely associated with BMI, WC, HC and % body fat (all p < 0.05). Within a sample of obese adults, consumption of dairy products, dairy protein, and calcium was associated with more favourable body composition.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Milk, Butter, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Ice cream, Curd


Dairy foods have been linked to Parkinson’s disease (PD), and a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies on dairy foods intake and PD risk was conducted. Eligible studies were identified in a literature search of EMBASE and PubMed up to April 2014. Seven results from prospective studies were included, including 1,083 PD cases among 304,193 subjects. The combined risk of PD for highest vs. lowest level of dairy foods intake was 1.40 (1.20-1.63) overall, 1.66 (1.29-2.14) for men and 1.15 (0.85-1.56) for women. For highest vs. lowest level, the PD risk was 1.45 (1.23-1.73) for milk, 1.26 (0.99-1.60) for cheese, 0.95 (0.76-1.20) for yogurt and 0.76 (0.51-1.13) for butter. The linear dose-response relationship showed that PD risk increased by 17 % [1.17 (1.06-1.30)] for every 200 g/day increment in milk intake (Pfor non-linearity = 0.22), and 13 % [1.13 (0.91-1.40)] for every 10 g/day increment in cheese intake (Pfor non-linearity = 0.39). The absolute risk differences were estimated to be 2-4 PD cases per 100,000 person-years for every 200 g/day increment in milk intake, and 1-3 PD cases per 100,000 person-years for every 10 g/day increment in cheese intake. Dairy foods (milk, cheese) might be positively associated with increased risk of PD, especially for men.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Milk, Butter, Cattle, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Cheese, Curd


Milk is a major food of global economic importance, and its consumption is regarded as a classic example of gene-culture evolution. Humans have exploited animal milk as a food resource for at least 8500 years, but the origins, spread, and scale of dairying remain poorly understood. Indirect lines of evidence, such as lipid isotopic ratios of pottery residues, faunal mortality profiles, and lactase persistence allele frequencies, provide a partial picture of this process; however, in order to understand how, where, and when humans consumed milk products, it is necessary to link evidence of consumption directly to individuals and their dairy livestock. Here we report the first direct evidence of milk consumption, the whey protein β-lactoglobulin (BLG), preserved in human dental calculus from the Bronze Age (ca. 3000 BCE) to the present day. Using protein tandem mass spectrometry, we demonstrate that BLG is a species-specific biomarker of dairy consumption, and we identify individuals consuming cattle, sheep, and goat milk products in the archaeological record. We then apply this method to human dental calculus from Greenland’s medieval Norse colonies, and report a decline of this biomarker leading up to the abandonment of the Norse Greenland colonies in the 15(th) century CE.

Concepts: Evolution, Mass spectrometry, Milk, Butter, Cattle, Dairy farming, Dairy, Curd


Background: Previous studies showed beneficial effects of specific dairy foods on bone health in middle-aged adults.Objective: We examined the association of milk, yogurt, cheese, cream, fluid dairy (milk + yogurt), and milk + yogurt + cheese intakes with bone mineral density (BMD) and 4-y percentage of change in BMD [▵%BMD; femoral neck, trochanter, and lumbar spine (LS)]. We further assessed whether these associations were modified by vitamin D supplement use in this cohort of older adults.Methods: Food-frequency questionnaire responses, baseline BMD (hip and spine, n = 862 in 1988-1989), and follow-up BMD (n = 628 in 1992-1993) were measured in the Framingham study, a prospective cohort study of older Caucasian men and women aged 67-93 y. Outcomes included baseline BMD and ▵%BMD. Dairy-food intakes (servings per week) were converted to energy-adjusted residuals, and linear regression was used, adjusting for covariates. These associations were further examined by vitamin D supplement use.Results: The mean age of the participants was 75 y. In the full sample, dairy-food items were not associated with BMD (P = 0.11-0.99) or with ▵%BMD (P = 0.29-0.96). Among vitamin D supplement users, but not among nonusers, higher milk, fluid dairy, and milk + yogurt + cheese intakes were associated with higher LS BMD (P = 0.011-0.009). Among vitamin D supplement users, but not among nonusers, higher milk + yogurt + cheese intakes were protective against trochanter BMD loss (P = 0.009).Conclusions: In this population of older adults, higher intakes of milk, fluid dairy, and milk + yogurt + cheese were associated with higher LS BMD, and a higher intake of milk + yogurt + cheese was protective against trochanter BMD loss among vitamin D supplement users but not among nonusers. These findings underscore that the benefits of dairy intake on the skeleton may be dependent on vitamin D intake.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Vitamin D, Milk, Calcium, Butter, Pasteurization, Dairy product, Curd