Elske Brouwer-Brolsma


Dr. ir. Elske Brouwer-Brolsma is a nutritional epidemiologist at the Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen UR. After completion of her BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics (Hanze University Groningen) (2007) and MSc in Nutritional Epidemiology (Wageningen UR) (2009), Elske was employed at the “stichting graslandwetenschappen” where she reviewed the scientific evidence on the impact of dairy consumption in relation to a broad variety of health outcomes. In 2010, Elske continued her studies with a PhD thesis on the potential role of vitamin D in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), dementia, and depression. Since 2014 she is appointed as a research fellow on a variety of projects, including a project on the influence of dairy consumption on body composition, and the development of insulin resistance and T2DM.



Intake of different types of dairy and the impact on type 2 diabetes risk in Dutch adults

Dr.ir. Elske M Brouwer-Brolsma,

Worldwide the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is increasing. Several studies have suggested a beneficial role of several main dairy nutrients with respect to insulin production and sensitivity. Calcium and protein have for instance been suggested to favourably affect energy balance and body weight, and as such glucose tolerance. It has also been suggested that dairy consumption reduces inflammation, which may also decrease the probability of developing T2DM. However, harmful effects of dairy consumption have been suggested as well. Dairy consumption may, for example, lead to a higher intake of saturated fats, which may unfavourably affect blood lipid profiles. To further elucidate these potential effects, we investigated the impact of the full-range of dairy products and its association with incidence T2DM in older Dutch adults (≥55 years), who participated in the Rotterdam Study. Data on dairy intake was collected by means of Food Frequency Questionnaires, by which the consumption of total, skimmed, semi-skimmed, full-fat, fermented, and non-fermented dairy was documented. T2DM cases were ascertained using records of general practitioners’, hospital discharge letters, and serum glucose measurements from Rotterdam Study visits. Associations were analyses by means of Cox proportional hazards regression and spline regression, while adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, alcohol, smoking, education, physical activity, intake of total energy, energy-adjusted meat and energy-adjusted fish intake. Median total dairy intake was 398 gram/day (IQR 259-559 gram/day). Through 9.5±4.1 years of follow-up, 393 cases of incident T2DM were reported. Statistical analyses did not point towards significant associations of total dairy consumption, dairy consumption based on fat content, non-fermented or fermented dairy consumption, or individual dairy products with incident T2DM. Specifically, the HR for total dairy intake and T2DM was 0.93 (95% CI: 0.70-1.23) in the upper quartile (P-for trend 0.76). Thus, it can be concluded that this study did not show a beneficial or harmful association between dairy consumption and incident T2DM monitored during a follow-up period of on average 10 years.

Project members: Elske M Brouwer-Brolsma, Geertruida J van Woudenbergh, Stefanie JWH Oude Elferink, Cécile M Singh-Povel, A Hofman, Abbas Dehghan, OH Franco, EJM Feskens

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