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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5358
Vol. 7, No. 1, 2007
Bioline Code: nd07008
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2007

Michael N. I. Lokuruka1


There are increasing global concerns about the role of foods in health and chronic diseases. Milk and dairy products are important sources of dietary protein and fat in the diets of many cultures including African communities. However, questions are being raised concerning the role of milk-nutrients in chronic diseases including CVDs. Also, the African public often does not have access to scientific information on the nutritional and health significance of nutrients in some of their major foods including milk and dairy products. This review of the literature was therefore conducted in order to provide information on the role of the fatty acids of milk and dairy products in respect of CVDs, with reference to some African communities. The fatty acids linoleic and α-linolenic are precursors of eicosanoids, whose excessive and/or imbalanced synthesis has been implicated in various pathological conditions including CVD. Due to the considerable amount of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol in milk, its consumption is often associated with mortalities from CVDs. Myristic and lauric acids are atherogenic, and raise the risk of CVD by increasing plasma cholesterol and LDL, although oleic, linoleic and linolenic reduce the increase. Palmitic acid does not seem to be strongly atherogenic, while stearic acid is largely neutral. Abundant intake of saturated fats increases plasma LDL and VLDL. Although considered high cholesterol foods, milk and dairy products may not be major contributors of dietary cholesterol, as whole milk contains 10-15 mg cholesterol/dL, while skimmed milk with 1% butter-fat contains less than 8 mg/dL cholesterol. Trans fats have been implicated as risk factors for CVD due to their hypercholesterolemic effect. The risks of CVD from trans fats intake in milk and its products are, however, lower compared to risks from the consumption of hydrogenated vegetable oils. Linoleic, α-linolenic and oleic acids are considered cardioprotective. The short and medium-chain fatty acids do not seem to influence plasma cholesterol levels; monounsaturated fats tend to have a neutral influence, while polyunsaturated fats tend to lower total cholesterol, but may also lower the "good" HDL. To lower cholesterol and saturated fatty acids intake from milk and dairy products, and to slow atherosclerosis progression, it is recommended that the consumption of full-fat milk be reduced while increasing that of skimmed milk and cheese. This can be achieved by integrating these findings into food processing practices, agricultural, and nutritional policy in Africa.

Milk, Diet, Fat, Fatty acids, Cholesterol, Cardiovascular diseases

Michael N. I. Lokuruka1


Les acides myristiques et lauriques sont athérogènes, et ils aggravent le risque de maladies cardiovasculaires en augmentant le cholestérol du plasma et la LDL bien que l'oléique, le linoléique et le linolénique réduisent l'accroissement. L'acide palmitique ne semble pas être pas fortement athérogénique, tandis que l'acide stéarique est largement neutre. La prise abondante de matières grasses saturées augmente la LDL et la VLDL du plasma. Tout en étant considérés comme des aliments contenant beaucoup de cholestérol, le lait et les produits laitiers ne peuvent pas être des contributeurs majeurs du cholestérol diététique, étant donné que le lait entier contient 10 -15 mg de cholestérol/dL, tandis que le lait écrémé à 1% de beurre – matière grasse contient moins de 8 mg/dL de cholestérol. Les acides gras trans ont été considérés comme des facteurs de risques de maladies cardiovasculaires à cause de leur effet hypercholestérolémique. Les risques de maladies cardiovasculaires provenant de la prise de matières grasses trans dans le lait et les produits laitiers sont, cependant, peu élevés en comparaison avec les risques de la consommation d'huiles végétales hydrogénées. Les acides linoléiques, a-linoléniques et oléiques sont considérés comme cardioprotecteurs. Les acides gras courts et moyens ne semblent pas influencer les niveaux du cholestérol du plasma; les matières grasses mono-insaturées tendent à avoir une influence neutre, tandis que les matières grasses poly-insaturées tendent à baisser le cholestérol total, mais ils peuvent également baisser la "bonne" HDL (lipoprotéine de haute densité). Pour diminuer le cholestérol et la prise d'acides gras saturés du lait et des produits laitiers et ralentir la progression de l'athérosclérose, il est recommandé que de réduire la consommation de lait entier en augmentant la consommation de fromage et lait écrémés. Ceci peut se réaliser en intégrant les présents résultats dans les pratiques de transformation des produits alimentaires, ainsi que dans la politique agricole et alimentaire en Afrique.

Mots Clés
Lait, régime alimentaire, matières grasses, acides gras, cholestérol, maladies cardio-vasculaires.

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