Associations between dairy fat intake, milk-derived free fatty acids, and cardiometabolic risk in Dutch adults

Katherine J. Li*, Elske M. Brouwer-Brolsma, Charlotte Fleuti, René Badertscher, Guy Vergères, Edith J.M. Feskens, Kathryn J. Burton-Pimentel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Milk-derived free fatty acids (FFAs) may act as both biomarkers of intake and metabolic effect. In this study we explored associations between different types of dairy consumption, a selection of milk-derived free fatty acids, and cardiometabolic disease (CMD) risk factors. Methods: Sixty-seven FFAs were quantified in the plasma of 131 free-living Dutch adults (median 60 years) using gas chromatography-flame ionization detector. Intakes of different dairy foods and groups were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Twelve different CMD risk factors were analyzed. Multiple linear regressions were used to evaluate the associations under study. Results: Based on the fully adjusted models, 5 long-chain unsaturated FFAs (C18:1 t13 + c6 + c7 + u, C18:2 c9t11 + u, C20:1 c11, C20:3 c8c11c14, and C20:4 c5c8c11c14), 2 medium-chain saturated FFAs (C15, C15 iso), and a trans FFA (C16:1 t9) were positively associated with at least one variable of dairy intake, as well as plasma total and LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and SCORE (p ≤ 0.05). A long-chain PUFA associated with high-fat fermented dairy intake (C18:2 t9t12), was negatively associated with serum triglyceride levels, and a long-chain saturated FFA associated with cheese intake (C18:1 u1) was negatively associated with plasma LDL cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels. No clear associations were observed between dairy intake and CMD risk factors. Conclusion: Milk-derived FFAs could act as sensitive biomarkers for dairy intake and metabolism, allowing the association between dairy and CMD risk to be more precisely evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-198
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online date5 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Biomarker
  • Cardiometabolic disease risk
  • Dairy
  • Free fatty acids


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