Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Research Article

Session 4: Challenges facing the food industry in innovating for health Impact on CVD risk of modifying milk fat to decrease intake of SFA and increase intake of cis-MUFA

Symposium on ‘Behavioural nutrition and energy balance in the young’

on 18–20 June 2008, A Meeting of the Nutrition Society, was held at the O'Reilly Hall, University College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, hosted by the Irish Section.

D. I. Givensa1 c1

a1 Nutritional Sciences Research Unit, Animal Science Research Group, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, UK


Despite the acknowledged benefits of reducing SFA intake few countries within the EU meet recognised targets. Milk and dairy products represent the single largest source of dietary SFA in most countries, yet epidemiological evidence indicates that milk has cardioprotective properties such that simply reducing consumption of dairy foods to meet SFA targets may not be a sound public health approach. The present paper explores the options for replacing some of the SFA in milk fat with cis-MUFA through alteration of the diet of the dairy cow, and the evidence that such changes can improve the indicators for CHD and CVD in general for the consumer. In addition, the outcome of such changes on risk factors for CHD and CVD at the population level is examined in the light of a modelling exercise involving data for eleven EU member states. Given the current and projected costs of health care, the results indicate that urgent consideration should be given to such a strategy.


c1 Corresponding author: Professor Ian Givens, fax +44 118 378 6595, email