FerMetS – Fermented dairy products and metabolic syndrome

The relation between diet and health has traditionally focused on isolated nutrients such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates. However, foods have complex structures, which can affect the bioactive properties of nutrients in ways that are not predictable from the isolated nutrients. The importance of the food matrix becomes evident when consumption of a single nutrient, e.g., saturated fat can have different effects depending on the matrix in which it exists. Prime examples are dairy products, where the nutrients and bioactive components interact with each other creating highly complex dairy matrices. Especially the unique yogurt matrix consisting of fat, protein, lactose, vitamins and minerals as well as a variety of microbial fermentation products appear to have favorable health effects, which differ from the physiological effects of the individual nutrients present in the yogurt matrix. The aim of the project is to explore different dairy matrices, and their effects on human health.

By: Grith Mortensen

The research team hypothesize, that the consumption of fermented dairy products by males with symptoms of metabolic syndrome will have favorable effects on factors such as liver fat, cardiometabolic risk, and glucose metabolism when compared with non-fermented dairy products. Moreover, that these favorable effects (partly) can be attributed to effects on the composition and activity of the gut microbiota.

In the first part of the project, the research team will characterize the matrix of four dairy products. In the second part of the project, these dairy products are included in a 16-week randomized controlled trial. One-hundred men with symptoms of metabolic syndrome are included in the study with the overall objective of investigating the effect of including yogurt as a part of their habitual diet on liver fat, cardiometabolic risk, glucose metabolism, and gut microbiota.

The project generates knowledge of the physiological mechanisms whereby specific dairy matrices elicit health beneficial effects. Thus, this project can provide important knowledge of health benefits for the individual as well as the society, and thereby provide business opportunities for the dairy industry. 

Project period: June 2020 - July 2024

Budget: 9,503,000 DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund, Arla Food for Health, in-kind from the universities 

Project manager: Faidon Magkos and Karoline Sandby

Institution: Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen

Participants: Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen; Department of Food Science, Aarhus University; Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen


Publications and presentations

Initial article published in Mælkeritidende:

Mælkeritidende 2022 No. 10


Søren D. Nielsen, Louise M.A. Jakobsen, Nina R.W. Geiker, Hanne Christine Bertram (2022). Chemically acidified, live and heat-inactivated fermented dairy yoghurt show distinct bioactive peptides, free amino acids and small compounds profiles. Food Chemistry, Volume 376, 131919, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.131919


The results originating from the project will be published on this page when they become publicly available.

Grith Mælk 1

Grith Mortensen

Chefkonsulent, Branchesekretariat mejeri, Landbrug & Fødevarer/Skejby

Mobil: 40964114

E-mail: gmo@lf.dk