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.