Dairy products consumption is increasingly common globally. Most of the evidence concerning dairy products comes from observational studies in western populations which are inevitably open to confounding. To triangulate the evidence concerning dairy products, we examined the associations of whole cow’s milk consumption with cardiovascular risk factors in a non-Western setting with a different pattern of milk consumption and cardiovascular diseases from Western populations.
We used multivariable censored linear or logistic regression to examine cross-sectionally the adjusted associations of whole cow’s milk consumption (none (n = 14892), 1–3/week (n = 2689) and 3+/week (n = 2754)) with cardiovascular risk factors in Chinese ($50 years) in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study.
Whole cow’s milk consumption was negatively associated with systolic blood pressure (3+/week compared to none 22.56 mmHg, 95% confidence interval (CI) 23.63 to 21.49), diastolic blood pressure (21.32 mmHg, 95% CI 21.87 to 20.77) and triglycerides (20.06 mmol/L, 95% CI 20.11 to 20.002), but was positively associated with HDL-cholesterol (0.02 mmol/L,95% CI 0.01 to 0.04) and fasting glucose (0.08 mmol/L, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.16) adjusted for age, sex, phase of study, socio-economic position, lifestyle (smoking, alcohol use and physical activity) and adiposity, but had no obvious association with LDL-cholesterol or the presence of diabetes.
Whole cow’s milk consumption had heterogeneous associations with cardiovascular risk factors. Higher whole cow’s milk consumption was associated with lower levels of specific cardiovascular risk factors which might suggest risk factor specific biological pathways with different relations to blood pressure and lipids than glucose.