Dairy Foods: Current Evidence of their Effects on Bone, Cardiometabolic, Cognitive, and Digestive Health

Julie M. Hess, Satya S. Jonnalagadda, Joanne L Slavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Dairy foods have long been considered nutrient-dense and health-promoting products that offer many health benefits to their consumers. This review is an overview of the health benefits associated with them, drawing from recent research conducted on the associations of dairy food components with bone, cardiometabolic, cognitive, and digestive health in cross-sectional and intervention studies. Each section details the associations of dairy with a certain aspect of health and focuses on the benefits milk product consumption may have on the prevention and management of chronic health conditions such as osteoporosis, the metabolic syndrome, and dementia. Dairy food components, as well as the potential biological mechanisms responsible for their effects on health, are also addressed. Although several of the biological mechanisms warrant further research, current evidence suggests that dairy consumption confers some beneficial effects to bone, cardiometabolic, cognitive, and digestive health. Due to its nutrient profile and the current evidence of its benefits, at least 1 daily serving of a dairy item is recommended by the dietary guidelines of several countries. Yet, even in the United States, many individuals do not consume the recommended 3 cups of dairy foods a day. Therefore, this review concludes with a description of the current public health impact of dairy food research as well as recommendations for the food industry to formulate dairy foods that are both palatable and health-promoting for consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-268
Number of pages18
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Institute of Food Technologists®.


  • Bone health
  • Dairy
  • Dairy nutrition
  • Disease prevention
  • Health outcomes


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