Tanja Thorning


Postdoctoral researcher at the Section for Obesity Research at University of Copenhagen. Her research is based on intervention studies in humans and animals. Recent years her research has been centered on protein quality, satiety and muscle protein synthesis as well as dietary fiber, satiety and cardiometabolic risk. She has a PhD in cheese intake and cardiometabolic health from University of Copenhagen (2015). Her background is in Human Nutrition (MSc) with a master thesis on dairy calcium sources and cardiovascular health, and in clinical dietetics (BSc).



Observational data have suggested that saturated fatty acids (SFAs) from meat  increase, but SFAs from dairy  reduce CVD risk. This was investigated in an intervention study in humans comparing effects of diets with cheese or meat as sources of SFAs or with an iso-caloric replacement with carbohydrates. Higher HDL-C and apoA-I and bile acid excretion was found with the cheese and meat diets compared to a low-fat carbohydrate diet. The cheese diet also caused a lower apoB: apoA-I ratio compared to the carbohydrate diet, and fecal fat excretion was highest with the cheese diet, intermediate with the meat diet, and lowest with the carbohydrate diet. Diets with cheese and meat therefore appeared to be less atherogenic than a low-fat carbohydrate diet. As a group of dairy products, cheese is very diverse with respect to fat, protein, and calcium content. The metabolic effects after cheese intake may depend on these components being imbedded in the cheese-matrix. A pig study investigated how diets with regular-fat cheese, reduced-fat cheese + butter or butter affected fasting blood lipids, fecal fat and energy excretion and fecal microbiota. The results suggested that regular-fat cheese-matrix in particular has a distinct effect on blood lipids and fecal microbiota. The ripening duration of cheese may also influence how cheese intake affects cardiometabolic health. In a pig study no differences in fecal fat excretion or blood lipid concentrations (except for NEFA) were found between pigs consuming short- or long-term ripened cheese. However, intake of long-term ripened cheese improved insulin sensitivity.

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