Dairy matrix effects: response to consumption of dairy fat differs when eaten within the cheese matrix-a randomized controlled trial

Type Article

Journal Article


E. L. Feeney; R. Barron; V. Dible; Z. Hamilton; Y. Power; L. Tanner; C. Flynn; P. Bouchier; T. Beresford; N. Noronha; E. R. Gibney

Year of publication



Am J Clin Nutr








BACKGROUND: Dairy fat consumed as cheese has different effects on blood lipids than that consumed as butter. It is unknown whether the effect is specific to fat interaction with other cheese nutrients (calcium, casein proteins), or to the cheese matrix itself. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to test the effect of 6 wk daily consumption of ∼40 g dairy fat, eaten within macronutrient-matched food matrices, on markers of metabolic health, in overweight adults aged ≥50 y. DESIGN: The study was a 6-wk randomized parallel intervention; 164 volunteers (75 men) received ∼40 g of dairy fat/d, in 1 of 4 treatments: (A) 120 g full-fat Irish cheddar cheese (FFCC) (n = 46); (B) 120 g reduced-fat Irish cheddar cheese + butter (21 g) (RFC + B) (n = 45); (C) butter (49 g), calcium caseinate powder (30 g), and Ca supplement (CaCO3) (500 mg) (BCC) (n = 42); or (D) 120 g FFCC, for 6 wk (as per A) (n = 31). Group D first completed a 6-wk run-in" period, where they excluded all dietary cheese before commencing the intervention. RESULTS: There was no difference in anthropometry, fasting glucose, or insulin between the groups at pre- or postintervention. However, a stepwise-matrix effect was observed between the groups for total cholesterol (TC) (P = 0.033) and LDL cholesterol (P = 0.026), with significantly lower postintervention TC (mean ± SD) (5.23 ± 0.88 mmol/L) and LDL cholesterol (2.97 ± 0.67 mmol/L) when all of the fat was contained within the cheese matrix (Group A), compared with Group C when it was not (TC: 5.57 ± 0.86 mmol/L; LDL cholesterol: 3.43 ± 0.78 mmol/L). CONCLUSION: Dairy fat, eaten in the form of cheese, appears to differently affect blood lipids compared with the same constituents eaten in different matrices, with significantly lower total cholesterol observed when all nutrients are consumed within a cheese matrix This trial was registered at ISRCTN as ISRCTN86731958."