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Low Dairy Consumption in Young Adults Increases Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

A recent study has found that young people between the ages of 18 and 25 are not consuming the recommended three daily servings of dairy products. As a result, they are three times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is defined as having at least three of the following risk factors: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high triglycerides. It is on the rise in the US and puts people at higher risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The study included 339 Mexican students between the ages of 18 and 25. They were asked to fill out a food frequency questionnaire. The researchers then assessed them for metabolic syndrome risk factors, controlling for sex, age, physical activity, and family medical history.

They found that only 25% of the participants were getting the recommended amount of dairy from their diet. For the 75% not getting the recommended amount, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its risk factors was 2.6 to 4.1 times higher.

Previous studies have shown that dairy products protect against obesity. Scientists are as yet unsure of the mechanism behind this, although they believe it is linked to the calcium and/or the proteins found in dairy products.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois and published in the January 2013 issue of Food and Nutrition Sciences.

Dairy consumption has also been linked to bone health, diabetes prevention, weight loss, and improved mental function. If you’re looking to add more dairy to your diet, you may want to stick to the low-fat dairy products as the high fat content of “whole milk” products could reduce the positive benefits.

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