Arla Food for Health has initiated 15 research projects during the first six years of its existence.

Arla Food for Health (AFH) is based on the conviction that equal collaboration through independent research activities, both nationally and internationally, are crucial for the ability to address several global health challenges.

The ambition is to push boundaries and foster world-class dairy science. Subsequently results can be applied in food design and new nutritional solutions with positive impact on global nutritional sta-tus and public health – this will create value for individuals, the society and the collaborating part-ners.

The AFH partners are committed to create impact and objectively disseminate the scientific insights developed through the AFH-projects. The collaboration between the partners include a targeted and coordinated public outreach that can serve as basis for a science based nutrition and health dia-logue with external stakeholders – including authorities, NGO’s, universities and other industries.

The funded research projects:

All projects have participation from University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, Arla Foods Ingredients Group P/S and Arla Foods amba. Below you’ll find a brief description of these 14 projects.

ChildRAUM – Children’s nutrient requirements, absorption, utilization & metabolic rates with emphasis on dairy protein

Nutrients and not the least protein is important for a child’s health and growth, and protein requirements change during different growth periods and with illness. However, little is known about the exact protein requirements during growth in healthy children.
The ChildRAUM project will determine in detail and in the broadest sense post-absorptive metabolism, post-prandial metabolism and nutrient requirements as well as endocrine responses in children in 3 age categories. For this, protein, amino acids, fat and glucose metabolism will be investigated before and after ingestion of a liquid meal containing a mixture of protein (casein isolate), fat and glucose to establish protein absorption, systemic protein turnover, and amino acids metabolism (including liver function) and endocrine responses next to glucose and oral Chylomicron and liver fat handling (VLDL-TAG) and endogenous lipolysis.
Children in different ages will be included, this will provide knowledge of protein and general nutrient requirements during growth in healthy children, as well as biomarkers for energy requirements to be used at children hospitals.

Principal investigator

Professor Mette Cathrine Ørngreen, Rigshospitalet

AFH funded

2.3 mill. DDK

GutBioMod – Extracellular Vesicles in milk as Biological Modulators of Gut development and function during early life

Milk carry two kinds of bioactive phospholipid particles, milk fat globules and extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs from milk display a distinct molecular composition of lipids, proteins, and an aqueous core with nucleic acids, especially microRNA (miRNA). EVs are thought to deliver not yet fully understood messages to the cells in gastrointestinal tract in the infant, by its content of nucleic acids, which appears to be important for the gut- and immune system development, also later in life. However, EVs are only limitedly present in current infant formulas on the market today. In GutBioMod we want to study how raw milk and dairy derived EVs are influencing the intestinal cells upon uptake and which processes in the gastrointestinal tract that are influenced. By providing a deeper understanding of this milk-born mother-to-child signalling axis during early life, the project will increase our knowledge of the regulatory effects of nutrition and may help to improve the quality of infant formula.

Principal investigator

Professor Jørgen Kjems, Aarhus University

AFH funded

1.5 mill. DDK

DACAPRO – Dairy calcium to promote prebiotic effects in the gut

Calcium is a characteristic constituent of milk and dairy products, which are recognized as a key calcium sources providing support for bone health. In addition, calcium may also exert important effects that promote gut health, via its ability to influence gut microbiota (GM) composition and functionality. Through controlled in vitro fermentation studies where different calcium sources and prebiotics are combined as substrates, the DACAPRO project aims to generate fundamental evidence on the potential of dairy calcium to promote the effects of prebiotics and thereby improve gut health. This will be achieved through integrated metabolomics, metagenomics and gene expression analyses to identify the detailed effects of calcium and prebiotic combinations on in vitro simulated GM composition and its metabolic capacity and activity. This knowledge will be a cornerstone to understand the role of dairy as a unique biofunctional food segment targeted at gut health promotion.

Principal investigator

Professor Hanne Christine Bertram, Aarhus University

AFH funded

1.1 mill. DDK

YourGutBrain – Yoghurt to alter gut movements and brain function

Increasing evidence suggest that bowel habits are linked to mental health. Consumption of fermented dairy has been reported to accelerate intestinal transit time and to affect cognitive performance, respectively. The YourGutBrain project will investigate whether intake of fermented dairy in comparison with non-fermented dairy increases weekly bowel movements and concordantly improves cognitive performance. This will be investigated through a dietary intervention study including healthy women with few bowel movements per week. A wide range of measures related to the gut and the brain will be assessed upon consumption of fermented dairy and non-fermented dairy, respectively. Together, this will provide insights into whether fermented dairy can affect bowel habits and cognition, as well as potential underlying mechanisms linking the gut and the brain.

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor Henrik Munch Roager, University of Copenhagen

AFH funded

6.6 mill. DDK

LAMETA – Lactate – the link between fermented dairy products and metabolic health?

Intake of fermented dairy products is associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Since fermentation increases the content of lactate, lactate may be the previously unknown link between fermented dairy intake and metabolic health. In a recent study, we have found that oral intake of lactate slows gastric emptying, inhibits appetite, and also inhibits the appetite hormone ghrelin and stimulates the secretion of the incretin hormone GLP-1 and insulin. Therefore, the aim of the LAMETA project is to investigate how the addition of lactate to meals affects hormone secretion, nutrient absorption, and substrate utilization in individuals with obesity and insulin resistance. This will be done through both animal and human studies and with a new PET scan method to measure organ-specific meal fat uptake. The results of the LAMETA project will elucidate whether lactate and lactate‐containing dairy products could prevent and treat metabolic diseases such as diabetes type 2, obesity and insulin resistance.

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor Esben Søndergaard, Aarhus University

AFH funded

4.9 mill. DDK

CASGUT: Caseins for gut comfort in infants

Most infant formulas (IF) are based on processed milk proteins, consisting of bovine whey proteins added to skimmed milk powder to obtain whey/casein (CN) ratio of 60/40 to approach the ratio in human milk (HM). The project aims to clarify the potential benefits of gently-processed intact or hydrolyzed micellar casein isolate (MCI) in IFs and how they compare to HM in terms of mild gastric clotting for improved gut comfort and motility and the release of bioactive peptides for improved gut health. It is currently unknown how the widely studied rennet-induced coagulation of bovine milk in relation to cheese-making properties translates into clotting properties in the infant stomach. This is studied in the CASGUT project; by combinations of piglet studies and lab based pilot experiments in the context of the established CASGUT AU/UCPH project consortium.

Principal Investigators

Professor Lotte Bach Larsen, Aarhus University
Associate Professor Stine Brandt Bering, University of Copenhagen

AFH funded

5.1 mill. DDK

SMiL – Special Milk Lipids for Improving Metabolic Health

Medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCSFAs) comprise about 10% of the fat found in cow milk. MCSFAs have been shown to increase satiety and improve metabolic syndrome. We have two aims. One, by using different transgenic mouse models and by conducting mechanistic human experiments, we want to identify the mode-of-action underpinning the health benefits of MCSFAs. Two, we will create a novel dairy product that is highly enriched in MCSFAs and assess its potential health benefits in humans.

Scientific publications
Kanta et al. Dietary medium-chain fatty acids reduce food intake via the GDF15-GFRAL axis in mice. Molecular metabolism, 2023.

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor Maximilian Kleinert, University of Copenhagen.

AFH funded

5.2 mill. DDK

DAIPRO-NAFLD – A randomized controlled trial of effects of DAIry PROtein products on liver disease severity and metabolism in patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

The project will investigate the effects of novel dairy protein products on liver disease severity and metabolism in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This may procure novel treatments and dietary guidelines for patients with NAFLD and holds potential for extrapolation to obesity and diabetes.

Scientific publications

Sandby K et al. Efficacy of Dietary Manipulations for Depleting Intrahepatic Triglyceride Content: Implications for the Management of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Metabolism, 2021. 



Principal Investigator

Professor Henning Grønbæk, Aarhus University.

AFH funded

5.6 mill. DDK

The CutDM mealbox – Cut down on carbohydrate usage in the diet of type 2 diabetes

The project objective is to examine whether 12 months of provision of a carbohydrate-reduced high-protein (CRHP) diet as compared to dietary counseling to follow a CRHP diet or provision of a conventional diabetes (CD) diet can reduce medication and improve blood glucose control and key risk factors for metabolic and cardiovascular disease in patients with T2D.

Scientific publications

Kjeldsen S et al. Markers of Glucagon Resistance Improve With Reductions in Hepatic Steatosis and Body Weight in Type 2 Diabetes. J Endocr Soc, 2023.

Principal Investigator

Professor Thure Krarup, University of Copenhagen.

AFH funded

7.5 mill. DDK

ENMET – Milk proteins as regulator of obesity through modification of the ENergy METabolism and gut microbiota

This project investigates to what extent milk proteins modulate energy metabolism and thereby may improve weight management. The project aims in addition to investigate the molecular mechanisms governing the effect of protein on host metabolism in consort with gut bacteria.


Principal Investigator

Professor Karsten Kristiansen, University of Copenhagen

AFH funded

3.5 mill. DKK

Finalized research projects

MiPUAge – Milk Protein Utilisation and Age

Whey and casein-derived protein ingredients: gastro-intestinal absorbption, whole body utilizatoin, and hormonal and metabolic regulation: a metabolomics approach.

Principal Investigator

Professor Gerrit van Hall, University of Copenhagen

AFH funded

3.65 mill DKK


At any time at least 50 mill. children suffer from malnutrition, which has huge consequences for their future life – if they survive. Optimal nutrition support is needed to bring children out of this devastating state of hunger and impaired growth and development. This project examines how milk protein and whey permeate rescue linear and ponderal growth as well as child development in Moderate Acute Malnutrition.

Scientific publications

Pesu H et al. Correlates of Plasma Citrulline, a Potential Marker of Enterocytes Mass, among Children with Stunting: A Cross-Sectional Study in Uganda. J Nutr, 2024.

Mbabazi J et al. Correlates of early child development among children with stunting: A cross-sectional study in Uganda. Matern Child Nutr, 2024.

Mutumba R et al. Effect of lipid-based nutrient supplements on micronutrient status and hemoglobin among children with stunting: secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial in Uganda. AJCN, 2024.

Mutumba R et al. Micronutrient Status and Other Correlates of Hemoglobin among Children with Stunting: A Cross-Sectional Study in Uganda. Nutrients, 2023.

Mutumba R et al. Correlates of Iron, Cobalamin, Folate, and Vitamin A Status among Stunted Children: A Cross-Sectional Study in Uganda. Nutrients, 2023.

Mbabazi J et al. Effect of Milk Protein and Whey Permeate in Large-Quantity Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplement on Early Child Development among Children with Stunting: A Randomized 2 × 2 Factorial Trial in Uganda. Nutrients, 2023.

Mbabazi J et al. Effect of milk protein and whey permeate in large quantity lipid-based nutrient supplement on linear growth and body composition among stunted children: A randomized 2 × 2 factorial trial in Uganda. PLos Med., 2023.

Lewis J et al. Calibration of Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Against Deuterium Dilution for Body Composition Assessment in Stunted Ugandan Children. J Nutr, 2023.

Pesu H et al. The role of milk protein and whey permeate in lipid-based nutrient supplements on the growth and development of stunted children in Uganda: a randomized trial protocol (MAGNUS). Current Developments in Nutrition, 2021.

Principal Investigator

Professor Henrik Friis, University of Copenhagen

AFH funded

5 mill DKK


A food item is more than the content of its single nutrients. The structure of the food at all levels affects the digestion and uptake of the nutrients in the human gut. In this project, we study how the dairy matrix influences nutrient uptake with specific focus on post-prandial lipaemia. The perspective is to be able to design better foods with a more targeted structure for nutrient availability by understanding of the effects of this relationship in dairy foods.

Read more

Scientific publications

Thøgersen R et al. Effect of Dairy Matrix on the Postprandial Blood Metabolome. Nutrients, 2021. 

Thøgersen R et al. Progression of Postprandial Blood Plasma Phospholipids Following Acute Intake of Different Dairy Matrices: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Metabolites, 2021. 

Kjølbæk L et al. Matrix structure of dairy products results in different postprandial lipid responses: a randomized crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr, 2021.

Schmidt JM et al. Influence of type of dairy matrix micro- and macrostructure on in vitro lipid digestion. Food Funct, 2020. 

Popular publications

Fast eller flydende – hvad betyder madens struktur for næringsoptaget?

Madens struktur påvirker din optagelse af fedt.

Bertram & Hammershøj. Forunderlige fødevarematriceeffekter, Dansk Kemi, 102, 3, 21-23, 2021.


Principal Investigator

Professor Marianne Hammershøj, Aarhus University

AFH funded

4 mill DKK

OmniSaM: The Omnibus Satiety Metric

A multimodal metric for predicting the satiating effects of real foods and drinks

Satiation depends on many human factors related to e.g. physiology, perception and psychology and as such has proven very difficult to measure and predict accurately. Healthy foods that fill faster and for longer are desirable for public health, but current methods for measuring the satiating capacity of foods have very weak predictive val-ues. This ambitious project proposes to combine the primary processes underlying the satiety cascade, including brain, blood and behavior measurements to develop a meth-od which can accurately predict future caloric intake. The Omnibus Satiety Metric will enable the development of superior satiety optimized foods in the context of weight and lifestyle management for the consumer, as well as enabling the future development of a rapid measurement for satiation with wider applicability in the nutrition and medical sectors.

Read more

Scientific publications
Which factors decide how much we eat? DCA –Center for Food and Agriculture. April 2019. Popular science.

Popular publications

Hvad afgør hvor meget vi spiser?

Principal Investigator

Professor Derek Victor Byrne, Aarhus University

AFH funded

5.29 mill DKK


When sick and hospitalized muscle wasting often take place due to inflammation and lack of appetite. This project investigates the optimal combination of milk proteins and ketone bodies to counteract post-inflammatory protein and muscle waste in a new clinical human model combining inflammation(LPS), bed rest and fasting. The goal is to be able to support healing and recovery with targeted nutrition, which would improve quality of life for patients and reduce health care costs.

Scientific publications

Smedegaard SB et al. β-Lactoglobulin Elevates Insulin and Glucagon Concentrations Compared with Whey Protein-A Randomized Double-Blinded Crossover Trial in Patients with Type Two Diabetes Mellitus. Nutrients, 2021

Mose M et al. A model mimicking catabolic inflammatory disease; a controlled randomized study in humans. PLoS One, 2020. 

Mose M et al. β-lactoglobulin is insulinotropic compared with casein and whey protein ingestion during catabolic conditions: A human double-blinded randomized crossover trial. J Nutr, 2021.

Popular publications

Individualiseret ernæring skal få patienter på benene igen med muskelmassen i behold



Principal Investigator

Professor Niels Møller, Aarhus University Hospital

AFH funded

1.65 mill DKK


This projects investigates if a diet with bioactive milk ingredients protects against gut inflammation. This is of huge relevance to improve infant formula but may also be applicable to adults suffering from intestinal inflammation.

Scientific publications

Alinaghi M et al. Direct Implementation of Intestinal Permeability Test in NMR Metabolomics for Simultaneous Biomarker Discovery-A Feasibility Study in a Preterm Piglet Model. Metabolites, 2020. 

Muk T et al. Prenatal Endotoxin Exposure Induces Fetal and Neonatal Renal Inflammation via Innate and Th1 Immune Activation in Preterm Pigs. Front Immonol. 2020.

Oral Supplementation with Bovine Colostrum Prevents Septic Shock and Brain Barrier Disruption During Bloodstream Infection in Preterm Newborn Pigs

Prenatal Intra-Amniotic Endotoxin Induces Fetal Gut and Lung Immune Responses and Postnatal Systemic Inflammation in Preterm Pigs

Rapid Cerebral Metabolic Shift during Neonatal Sepsis Is Attenuated by Enteral Colostrum Supplementation in Preterm Pigs

Gut and Immune Effects of Bioactive Milk Factors in Preterm Pigs Exposed to Prenatal Inflammation

Rapid Proteome Changes in Plasma and Cerebrospinal Fluid Following Bacterial Infection in Preterm Newborn Pigs

Prenatal inflammation Suppresses Blood Th1 Polarization and Gene Clusters Related to Cellular Energy Metabolism in Preterm Newborns

Direct Implementation of Intestinal Permeability Test in NMR Metabolomics for Simultaneous Biomarker Discovery—A Feasibility Study in a Preterm Piglet Model

Postnatal gut immunity and microbiota development is minimally affected by prenatal inflammation in preterm pigs

Common and distinct variation in data fusion of designed experimental data

Principal Investigator

Professor Per Sangild, University of Copenhagen

AFH funded

4.46 mill DKK

Principal Investigator

Associate Professor Lars Wiking, Aarhus University

AFH funded

2.5 mill DKK

CutDM – Cut down on carbohydrate usage in the diet of type 2 diabetes

Mechanisms of effective therapy of diabetes by selective choice of macronutrients

This project investigates if a diet with lower content of carbohydrates and thus higher content of fat and protein, partly delivered by dairy products, improves blood sugar control of patients suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.

Scientific publications
Weber et al. Effects of Carbohydrate Restriction on Body Weight and Glycemic Control in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Efficacy in Real-Life Settings. Nutrients, 2022.

Thomsen et al. Weight loss improves beta-cell function independently of dietary carbohydrate restriction in people with type 2 diabetes: A 6 week randomized controlled trial. Front Nutr, 2022.

Jensen et al. Weight-loss induced by carbohydrate restriction does not negatively affect health-related quality of life and cognition in people with type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial. Clin Nutr, 2022.

Thomsen et al. Dietary carbohydrate restriction augments weight loss-induced improvements in glycaemic control and liver fat in individuals with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetologia, 2022.

Alzahrani AH et al. Effects of a Self-Prepared Carbohydrate-Reduced High-Protein Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Markers in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients, 2021. 

Alzahrani AH et al. Body weight and metabolic risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes on a self-selected high-protein low-carbohydrate diet. Eur J Nutr, 2021.

Skytte MJ et al. Effects of carbohydrate restriction on postprandial glucose metabolism, β-cell function, gut hormone secretion, and satiety in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2021. 

Skytte MJ et al. A carbohydrate-reduced high-protein diet improves HbA1c and liver fat content in weight stable participants with type 2 diabetes: a randomize controlled trial​. Diabetologia, 2019. 


Popular publications

Reduction of carbohydrate intake improved type 2 diabetics’ ability to regulate blood sugar

Færre kulhydrater forbedrer type 2-diabetikeres evne til at regulere blodsukkeret

Mindre kulhydrat og mere protein og fedt hjælper mod type 2 diebetes




Principal Investigator

Professor Thure Krarup, University of Copenhagen

AFH funded

4.0 mill DKK