cottage cheese

What is cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is believed to have originated because the simple cheese was usually made in cottages from any milk left over after making butter dating back to 1831. Cottage cheese is drained, but not pressed, so some whey remains and the individual curds remain loose. The curd is usually washed to remove acidity, giving sweet-curd cheese. Cottage cheese is not aged or colored. Different styles of cottage cheese are made from milk with different fat levels and in small-curd or large-curd preparations. Pressed cottage cheese becomes hoop cheese, farmer cheese, pot cheese, or queso blanco. The two major types of cottage cheese are small-curd, high-acid cheese made without rennet, and large-curd, low-acid cheese made with rennet. Rennet is a natural complex of enzymes that speeds curdling and keeps the curd that forms from breaking up. Adding rennet shortens the cheese-making process, resulting in a lower acid and larger curd cheese, and reduces the amount of curd poured off with leftover liquid (whey). Sometimes large-curd cottage cheese is called “chunk style.”

Cottage cheese is popular among dieters and some health food devotees. It is a favorite food among bodybuilders, runners, swimmers and weightlifters for its high content of casein protein (a longer-lasting protein) while being relatively low in fat.

Cheeses that are safe to eat in pregnancy

All hard cheeses are safe in pregnancy

You can eat hard cheeses, such as cheddar, parmesan and stilton, even if they’re made with unpasteurized milk. Hard cheeses don’t contain as much water as soft cheeses, so bacteria are less likely to grow in them 1). It’s possible for hard cheese to contain listeria, but the risk is considered to be low 2). Although it’s possible for hard cheeses to contain listeria bacteria, they’re in such low numbers (less than one bacterium per gram of cheese) that they’re not considered to be a health risk to you or your unborn baby. Listeria bacteria can cause an infection called listeriosis.

Hard cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy, even if they’re made with unpasteurized milk. These include:

  • cheddar
  • edam
  • emmental
  • gouda
  • gruyère
  • jarlsberg
  • parmesan
  • stilton

Soft cheeses that are safe to eat in pregnancy

Other than mold-ripened soft cheeses, all other soft types of cheese are OK to eat, provided they’re made from pasteurized milk.

These include 3):

  • cottage cheese
  • mozzarella
  • feta
  • cream cheese
  • paneer
  • ricotta
  • halloumi
  • goats’ cheese
  • processed cheeses, such as cheese spreads

Cooked soft cheeses that are safe to eat in pregnancy

Thorough cooking should kill any bacteria in cheese, so it should be safe to eat cooked mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie, camembert and chèvre, and cooked soft blue cheese, such as roquefort or gorgonzola, or dishes that contain them.

  • It’s important to make sure the cheese is thoroughly COOKED until it’s steaming hot all the way through!

Cheeses to avoid in pregnancy

Pregnant women should avoid eating mold-ripened soft cheeses and soft blue-veined cheeses as they can contain higher levels of listeria. Examples of these cheeses include:

  • brie and blue brie
  • camembert
  • chèvre (a type of goats’ cheese). Chèvre is mold-ripened and has a white rind, similar to brie and camembert – you should AVOID all these mold-ripened soft cheeses in pregnancy. This is because soft cheese like this can contain bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis.
  • Danish blue
  • gorgonzola
  • roquefort

Soft cheeses with white rinds

Don’t eat mold-ripened soft cheese (cheeses with a white rind) such as brie and camembert. This includes mold-ripened soft goats’ cheese, such as chèvre. These cheeses are only safe to eat in pregnancy if they’ve been cooked 4).

Soft blue cheeses

You should also avoid soft blue-veined cheeses such as danish blue, gorgonzola and roquefort. Soft blue cheeses are only safe to eat in pregnancy if they’ve been cooked 5).

It’s advised pregnant women avoid some soft cheeses because they’re less acidic than hard cheeses and contain more moisture, which means they can be an ideal environment for harmful bacteria, such as listeria, to grow in.

Although infection with listeria (listeriosis) is rare, it’s important to take special precautions in pregnancy – even a mild form of the illness in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby.

Find out about the symptoms of listeria by reading our article on listeria infection. Listeriosis usually causes flu-like symptoms but can lead to serious problems such as miscarriage or stillbirth, or severe illness in a newborn baby.  If you’re pregnant and showing signs of listeria infection, seek medical help straight away.

Cottage cheese nutrition

A 100g cottage cheese of 4% fat product has about 106 calories, 4.42 g fat (3 g saturated), 4.42 g carbohydrates, and 11.5 g protein. It also contains about 310 mg sodium, 88 mg calcium, and 22 mg cholesterol (see Table 1). 1 cup of cottage cheese (900 mg) each contain over 20% of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation for daily sodium intake 6).

  • Cottage cheese calories is 106 calories per 100 gram cottage cheese
  • Carbs in cottage cheese = 4.42 gram per 100 gram cottage cheese
  • Cottage cheese protein = 11.5 grams per 100 gram cottage cheese

Some manufacturers also produce low-fat (Table 2) and nonfat (Table 3) varieties. A fat-free kind of a similar serving size has 71 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 4.42 g carbohydrates, and 11.5 g protein.

Table 1. Cottage cheese nutrition facts

NutrientUnitValue per 100 g
Approximates
Energykcal106
Proteing11.5
Total lipid (fat)g4.42
Carbohydrate, by differenceg4.42
Fiber, total dietaryg0
Sugars, totalg3.54
Minerals
Calcium, Camg88
Iron, Femg0
Potassium, Kmg133
Sodium, Namg310
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg0
Vitamin A, IUIU177
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturatedg3.1
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg1.33
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg0
Fatty acids, total transg0
Cholesterolmg22

Ingredients: CULTURED NONFAT MILK, MILK, CREAM, LESS THAN 2% OF: SALT, NONFAT MILK, MALTODEXTRIN, CITRIC ACID, CARRAGEENAN, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, LOCUST BEAN GUM, GUAR GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, CARBON DIOXIDE (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS), ENZYME.

[Source: United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service 7)]

Table 2. Cottage cheese (Low Fat) nutrition facts

NutrientUnitValue per 100 g
Approximates
Energykcal76
Proteing8.47
Total lipid (fat)g2.12
Carbohydrate, by differenceg6.78
Fiber, total dietaryg0
Sugars, totalg4.24
Minerals
Calcium, Camg127
Iron, Femg0
Sodium, Namg331
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg0
Vitamin A, IUIU339
Vitamin DIU34
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturatedg1.27
Fatty acids, total transg0
Cholesterolmg13

Ingredients: CULTURED PASTEURIZED GRADE A SKIM MILK, MILK AND CRAM, WHEY, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SALT, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, XANTHAN GUM, GUAR GUM NATURAL FLAVOR, VITAMIN A PALMATE, VITAMIN D3.

[Source: United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service 8)]

Table 3. Cottage cheese (Fat Free) nutrition facts

NutrientUnitValue per 100 g
Approximates
Energykcal71
Proteing11.5
Total lipid (fat)g0
Carbohydrate, by differenceg4.42
Fiber, total dietaryg0
Sugars, totalg3.54
Minerals
Calcium, Camg88
Iron, Femg0
Sodium, Namg398
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg0
Vitamin A, IUIU177
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturatedg0
Fatty acids, total transg0
Cholesterolmg4

Ingredients: CULTURED SKIM MILK, SKIM MILK, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SALT, GUAR GUM, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES*, LOCUST BEAN GUM, XANTHAN GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, POTASSIUM SORBATE AND CARBON DIOXIDE (PRESERVATIVES), CARRAGEENAN, POLYSORBATE 80, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, ENZYMES.

[Source: United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service 9)]

Is cottage cheese healthy

Based on the most recent published evidence, April 2018 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials using 25 prospective studies on dairy products, investigating the relationship between fermented foods and non-transmissible chronic diseases 10) found eating cottage has no health benefit. That review 11) included a range of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as well as the meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials published by Benatar et al. 12) and de Goede et al. 13), and the systematic reviews of Turner et al. 14) and Labonté et al. 15). These studies investigated LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, fasting triglycerides, postprandial triglycerides, LDL particle size, apoB, non-HDL cholesterol, cholesterol ratios, inflammatory markers, insulin resistance, blood pressure, and vascular function. The strongest evidence for a beneficial effect was for yogurt on risk factors of type 2 diabetes 16). Although mechanisms explaining this association have not been validated, an increased bioavailability of insulinotropic amino acids and peptides as well as the bacterial biosynthesis of vitamins, in particular vitamin K2, might contribute to this beneficial effect 17). However, the heterogeneity in the design of the studies and the investigated foods impedes a definitive assessment of these associations.

Studies on Cardio-Metabolic Diseases

Drouin-Chartier et al. 18) conducted a comprehensive review of the impact of dairy foods, in particular, of dairy fat, on cardio-metabolic risk. Drouin-Chartier et al. 19) focused their analysis on the potentially detrimental effect of dairy fat on cardio-metabolic risk factors by concluding that there is no apparent risk of potential harmful effects of dairy consumption on a large set of cardio-metabolic variables. Among the products investigated, total dairy, milk, cheese, and yoghurt were discussed, providing additional information on the impact of fermented dairy products on cardio-metabolic health. The authors highlighted that the cholesterol-raising effects of saturated fatty acids are attenuated when provided in complex foods, such as milk, cheese, or yoghurt. Dairy food consumption has neither an impact on low-grade systemic inflammation, nor on insulin resistance or glucose and insulin homeostasis in the short term but may be beneficial in the long term. Furthermore, data from randomized controlled trials that have evaluated the impact of dairy consumption on either blood pressure or vascular function are very consistent in showing mostly no effect.

In summary, an overview of the randomized controlled trials available on the impact of fermented dairy products on cardio-metabolic factors indicate that these products do not differentiate themselves from milk or total dairy in that their impact can be characterized as neutral.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Five meta-analyses have investigated the association between dairy product intake and cardiovascular disease risk in the last five years 20), 21), 22), 23), 24).

The meta-analysis by Qin et al. 25) indicated that total dairy, but not yogurt, may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Alexander et al. 26) indicated that total dairy, milk, yogurt and cheese are not associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Moderate evidence that higher intake of cheese is associated with a weak reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease was reported by Chen et al. 27). Moderate evidence for a weak reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease for fermented dairy, but not for dairy, milk, cheese, or yogurt was reported by Guo et al. 28). The same authors also reported moderate evidence for a weak reduction of risk of mortality for fermented dairy, but not for dairy, milk, cheese, or yogurt 29). Finally, the meta-analysis by O’Sullivan et al. 30) indicated moderate evidence that total dairy, milk and cheese do not modify the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.

In their systematic review, Drouin-Chartier et al. 31) concluded that the association between the consumption of fermented dairy and cardiovascular disease risk is based on very low-quality evidence and thus remains uncertain at this point.

Taken together, none of the meta-analyses reported a detrimental effect of dairy products, including all fermented dairy products investigated. A neutral effect of yogurt was demonstrated in all four meta-analyses in which this product was investigated, whereas one out of five meta-analyses reported a beneficial effect of cheese consumption. On the other hand, the data from two meta-analyses on fermented dairy provided evidence for a beneficial effect of this product category. In conclusion, these meta-analyses provide weak evidence that fermented foods may have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease, although the data remain weak and inconsistent.

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)/Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Four meta-analyses have investigated the association between dairy products and Coronary Heart Disease/Coronary Artery Disease risk in the last five years 32)33), 34), 35). Moderate evidence that higher intake of cheese is associated with a moderately reduced risk of Coronary Heart Disease was reported by Chen et al. 36). No evidence for a reduction of risk of Coronary Heart Disease was found for dairy, milk, fermented dairy, cheese, or yogurt 37). Moderate evidence suggesting that cheese consumption, in particular, at higher servings, but not total dairy, milk or yoghurt, may be associated with a moderate reduction of risk of Coronary Heart Disease was reported by Alexander et al. 38). Finally, moderate evidence, reported by Qin et al. 39), suggests that cheese, but not total dairy or yogurt, may moderately decrease the risk of Coronary Heart Disease.

In their systematic review, Drouin-Chartier et al. 40) concluded that there is moderate but consistent evidence for a neutral association between yogurt consumption and Coronary Artery Disease risk. The same authors also concluded that the association between the consumption of fermented dairy and the risk of Coronary Artery Disease remains uncertain because only evidence of insufficient quality is available.

Taken together, moderate evidence for a moderate reduction of risk of Coronary Heart Disease was associated with the consumption of cheese in three out of four meta-analyses, whereas the other analyses, including yogurt, milk and dairy, indicated a neutral effect.

Stroke

Four meta-analyses have investigated the association between dairy product consumption and stroke risk in the last five years 41), 42), 43), 44), 45). The analysis by Alexander et al. 46) suggested that there is moderate evidence that cheese consumption, but not milk, may be associated with a moderate reduction in the risk of stroke, whereas total dairy consumption may be associated with a reduction in the risk of stroke. The analysis by de Goede et al. 47) indicated moderate evidence for a weak reduction in the risk of stroke with consumption of milk and >25 g/day cheese. Qin et al. 48) indicated that total dairy may decrease the risk of stroke and showed moderate evidence that cheese, but not yoghurt, may weakly decrease the risk of stroke. Also, Hu et al. 49) showed moderate evidence that total dairy, including fermented milk, but not milk or non-fermented milk, may moderately decrease the risk of stroke. Finally, the study by Hu et al. 50) suggested that there is moderate evidence that cheese intake may weakly decrease the risk of stroke.

In their systematic review, Drouin-Chartier et al. 51) suggested that there is moderate-quality evidence that the consumption of fermented dairy is associated with a reduced risk of stroke (see Table 4). They further concluded that the available meta-analysis on yogurt has a relatively good quality score, further suggesting that yogurt consumption is not associated with the risk of stroke; this was based on moderate-quality evidence.

Taken together, none of the dairy products, including fermented dairy products, are associated with a detrimental effect on stroke. Moderate evidence for a weak to moderate effect of fermented dairy products, in particular, cheese, is indicated by these meta-analyses, although these effects are inconsistently associated with the fermentation process—yogurt was found to have a neutral effect when investigated in the product-specific study.

Hypertension

Two meta-analyses have investigated the association between dairy products and hypertension risk in the last five years 52), 53). In addition, one meta-analysis, integrating 15 randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of fermented dairy products on hypertension, was published by Usinger et al. 54).

The study by Soedamah-Muthu et al. 55) suggested that total dairy and milk, but not yogurt, total fermented dairy or cheese may moderately contribute to the prevention of hypertension. Also, the report by Ralston et al. 56) provided moderate evidence for a moderate effect of fluid dairy foods (including milk and yoghurt), but not cheese, on blood pressure in subjects with elevated blood pressure.

In the Cochrane review of randomized controlled trials on the impact of fermented milk on hypertension, Usinger et al. 57) suggested a modest overall effect of fermented milk on blood pressure. However, the evidence was evaluated as weak, in light of the fact that an effect of fermented milk was found on systolic blood pressure (BP), but not on diastolic blood pressure.

The included studies were of variable quality as well as heterogeneous, and the findings do not support the use of fermented milk as an anti-hypertensive treatment or as a lifestyle intervention to reduce blood pressure.

In their systematic review, Drouin-Chartier et al. 58) concluded that there is no significant association between the consumption of fermented dairy and the risk of hypertension. Of note, Drouin-Chartier et al. 59) commented on an additional published study on this topic 60), which reported an inverse association between the consumption of fermented dairy and the risk of hypertension. This study has an important weighting (n = 2340) relative to data from the meta-analysis by Soedamah-Muthu et al. 61) (n = 7641) and is likely to modify pooled risk estimates. In this context, Drouin-Chartier et al. 62) suggested that moderate-quality evidence supports a neutral association between the consumption of fermented dairy and the risk of hypertension, with the need for further studies on the topic to yield better quality evidence. Regarding yogurt and the risk of hypertension, moderate-quality evidence was suggested by Drouin-Chartier et al. 63) that yogurt consumption is not associated with the risk of hypertension (Table 4).

Taken together, none of the dairy products, including fermented dairy products, are associated with an increased risk of hypertension. Half of the studies reported weakly beneficial effects but the results are inconsistent.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

No meta-analysis is available that summarizes studies characterizing the association of fermented dairy products and myocardial infarction (heart attack) risk.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Five meta-analyses have investigated the associations between fermented dairy products and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk in the last five years 64), 65), 66), 67), 68).

The meta-analysis by Gijsbers et al. 69) provided moderate evidence that the intake of dairy foods, yogurt and fermented dairy, but not cheese or milk, moderately decreases type 2 diabetes mellitus risk. The study by Chen et al. 70) showed moderate evidence that higher intake of yogurt is associated with a moderately-reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, whereas total dairy is not appreciably associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Aune et al. 71) indicated that dairy products, but not milk, may be associated with a decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Also, moderate evidence suggested that yogurt at higher doses may moderately decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Finally, the same authors reported moderate evidence that cheese, but not cottage cheese, may weakly decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as weak evidence that fermented milk may moderately decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus 72). The fourth meta-analysis by Gao et al. 73) showed moderate evidence suggesting that the intake of dairy products, cheese and high doses of yogurt, but not milk or fermented dairy, moderately decrease type 2 diabetes mellitus risk. Finally, Tong et al. 74) indicated that total dairy may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, whereas moderate evidence suggests that yogurt, but not whole milk, may moderately reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

In their systematic review, Drouin-Chartier et al. 75) concluded that the consumption of fermented dairy does not appear to be associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This statement was based on moderate-quality evidence, because the three meta-analyses available relied on almost the same pools of prospective cohort studies (see Table 4). On the other hand, the same authors concluded that the five meta-analyses regarding the association between yogurt intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus reported consistent results, suggesting that there is high-quality evidence that supports an inverse association between the intake of yogurt and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Taken together, these meta-analyses provide evidence for a positive impact of fermented dairy, in particular yogurt, on type 2 diabetes mellitus risk.

Table 4. Evaluation of the impact of dairy products on cardio-metabolic factors and diseases (intervention studies and prospective studies).

Total DairyMilkCheeseYogurt
Prospective studies 76)
CVDNeutralUncertainNeutralNeutral
CAD/CHDNeutralNeutralNeutralNeutral
StrokeFavorableNeutralFavorableNeutral
HypertensionFavorableFavorableNeutralNeutral
MetSFavorableFavorableUncertainUncertain
T2DMFavorableNeutralFavorableFavorable
Interventional studies randomized controlled trials 77)
LDL cholesterolNo effectNo effectNo effectNo effect
HDL cholesterolNo effectUncertainUncertainNo effect
Fasting TGsNo effectUncertainNo effectNo effect
Postprandial TGsUndeterminedNo effectNo effectUndetermined
LDL sizeUndeterminedNo effectUndeterminedUndetermined
apoBUndeterminedNo effectNo effectUndetermined
Non-HDL cholesterolUndeterminedUndeterminedUndeterminedUndetermined
Cholesterol ratiosUndeterminedNo effectNo effectReduced
InflammationNo effectNo effectUndeterminedNo effect
Insulin resistanceUncertainNo effectNo effectNo effect
Blood pressureNo effectNo effectUndeterminedNo effect
Vascular functionNo effectNo effectUndeterminedNo effect

Notes: apoB: apolipoprotein B; CAD: coronary artery disease; CHD: coronary heart disease; CVD: cardiovascular disease; HDL: high-density lipoprotein  “good” cholesterol; LDL: low-density lipoprotein “bad” cholesterol; MetS: Metabolic Syndrome; T2DM: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; TG: triglyceride.

[Source 78)]

Metabolic Syndrome (Metabolic Syndrome X)

One meta-analysis has investigated the association between dairy products and metabolic syndrome risk in the last five years 79).

This meta-analysis indicated that dairy intake may be inversely associated with the incidence and prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Also, weak evidence from cross-sectional studies suggests that dairy, milk and cheese, but not yogurt, may moderately decrease the incidence of diabetes.

In their systematic review, Drouin-Chartier et al. 80) judged the quality of the evidence relating yogurt intake to the incidence of metabolic syndrome to be very low, and thus, the association remains uncertain.

Taken together, none of the dairy products, including fermented dairy products, are associated with an increased or a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome.

Obesity

One meta-analysis has investigated the association between dairy products and metabolic obesity risk in the last five years 81).

This meta-analysis 82) indicated, with weak to moderate evidence, that yogurt consumption weakly decreases weight gain, waist circumference, risk of being overweight, and risk of abdominal obesity. The study also provided moderate evidence that cheese consumption weakly increases weight gain. In addition, dairy was negatively associated with weight gain, waist circumference, risk of being overweight and risk of abdominal obesity. Finally, milk consumption was negatively associated with waist circumference.

Taken together, yogurt might be beneficial preventing obesity 83). However, no significant association for yogurt consumption was observed for most of the endpoints related to obesity when comparing the highest versus the lowest categories of consumption. Further, the overall interpretation of the results is limited by heterogeneous risk estimates. The level of evidence for impacts of fermented dairy products on obesity risk is limited, and further studies are needed.

Summary of Studies Involving Cardio-metabolic Diseases

Dairy food consumption has neither an impact on low-grade systemic inflammation, nor on insulin resistance or glucose and insulin homeostasis in the short term but may be beneficial in the long term. Furthermore, data from randomized controlled trials that have evaluated the impact of dairy consumption on either blood pressure or vascular function are very consistent in showing mostly no effect. The consumption of fermented foods in the context of particular indications, such as yogurt intake and diabetes or cheese intake and stroke, can only be recommended on the basis of weak and inconsistent evidence 84).

In summary, an overview of the randomized controlled trials available on the impact of fermented dairy products on cardio-metabolic factors indicate that these products do not differentiate themselves from milk or total dairy in that their impact can be characterized as neutral 85).

Studies on Cancer

Two meta-analyses from the last five years investigated the association between dairy products and colorectal cancer risk 86), 87). The first meta-analysis showed that milk and total dairy products are associated with a significant reduction in colon cancer risk, whereas cheese, yoghurt, fermented milk and fermented dairy have neutral effects 88). Ralston et al. 89) later confirmed these findings by reporting a significant inverse association between the consumption of non-fermented dairy products and the risk of colorectal cancer, but no association between the consumption of fermented milk and cheese and colorectal cancer risk.

There is no evidence for a beneficial or detrimental effect of fermented dairy products on colorectal cancer. The potential beneficial effects of dairy products regarding colorectal cancer are thus unlikely to be attributed to the fermentation process.

One meta-analysis investigated the association between dairy products and pancreatic cancer risk that was published in the last five years 90). Intakes of cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, as well as milk, were not associated with pancreatic cancer risk. There is no evidence for a beneficial or detrimental effect of fermented dairy products on pancreatic cancer.

Two meta-analyses investigated the association between dairy products and gastric cancer risk 91), 92). None of these analyses demonstrated a significant association between the intake of cheese and yoghurt, and gastric cancer risk. Of note, the results of cohort studies, but not case-control studies, suggested that total dairy intake might be related to the reduction of gastric cancer risk 93), whereas the results of case-control studies, but not cohort studies, provided weak evidence for an increased risk 94).

There is no evidence for a beneficial or detrimental effect of fermented dairy products on gastric cancer. The potential effects of dairy products on gastric cancer are thus unlikely to be attributed to the fermentation process.

One meta-analysis from the last five years, summarizing 19 cohort and case-control studies, investigated the associations between fermented dairy products and ovarian cancer risk 95). This study concluded that milk and yoghurt intake has no association with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. There is no evidence for a beneficial or detrimental effect of fermented dairy products on ovarian cancer.

One meta-analysis from the last five years has summarized cohort and case-control studies in order to investigate the associations between fermented dairy products and lung cancer risk 96). Weak evidence from two cohort studies was available for a protective effect of cheese, but this effect was not found in the overall analysis of all studies that included eight case-control studies. In addition, no effects were observed for dairy, milk and yogurt. Taken together, there is no evidence for a beneficial or detrimental effect of fermented dairy products on lung cancer.

No meta-analysis is available that summarizes the impact of dairy products or fermented dairy products on other types of cancer. Also, to our knowledge, no individual study has been published focusing on the effects of fermented dairy product intake on additional types of cancer whose results would justify a critical appraisal in this report.

Summary of Studies Involving Cancer

In their review, Thorning et al. 97) concluded that, according to the World Cancer Research Fund reports and the latest meta-analyses, (i) consumption of milk and dairy products probably protects against colorectal, bladder, gastric and breast cancers, (ii) dairy intake does not seem to be associated with risk of pancreatic, ovarian or lung cancer; and (iii) the evidence for prostate cancer risk is inconsistent.

References   [ + ]

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