Complex Interactions of Obesity, Dairy Food Intake and Genetics of Lactase

Andrew Szilagyi


Obesity is a growing global problem associated with multiple diseases, often attributed to a western lifestyle and industrialization. Obesity is associated with low grade inflammation and alterations in the colonic microflora both of which may be instrumental in promoting pathogenesis of diseases. Milk and dairy foods have been suggested to improve weight control which in turn may help reduce risks of complications. In this narrative review the theoretical benefits of dairy foods on obesity are discussed. A search of PubMed, Google Scholar and individual papers spanning the last 21 years are used to retrieve articles dealing with the effects of dairy foods on obesity. Eleven systematic reviews with or without metaanalysis suggest that dairy foods only benefit weight control with short term energy restriction. An important confounder is the role of the genetics of lactase. Ten studies examining the dominant impact of the European gene for lactase persistence suggests that obesity may be related directly or indirectly by allowing more dairy foods intake in conjunction with lactase persistence. However the advancement of obesity into lactase non persistent populations suggests that dairy foods may not be uniquely or universaly important to develop obesity. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the complex interactions between weight control, diet and genetics that impact on dairy food consumption and obesity.

Published on: August 02, 2018
doi: 10.17756/jocd.2018-017
Citation: Szilagyi A. 2018. Complex Interactions of Obesity, Dairy Food Intake and Genetics of Lactase. J Obes Chronic Dis 2(2): 44-54.