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Why high-fat dairy products reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Researchers found that eating cheese could help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When people consumed high-fat dairy products such as cheese, cream and yogurt, they were less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes.
In their research, scientists from the internationally recognized University of Cambridge in the UK found that consuming high-fat dairy products can protect people from type 2 diabetes. The doctors published the results of their analysis of various previous studies in the English-language journal "PLOS Medicine".
Is milk unhealthy?
There have been repeated warnings in recent years that milk and dairy products are bad for health. But the University of Cambridge research team found that people should not be discouraged from consuming dairy products. The study participants less likely developed type 2 diabetes when consuming cheese, cream, and yogurt compared to patients who did not consume such foods, the researchers report.
Nutrients in dairy products contribute to healthy eating
Currently, the U.S. diet guidelines do not recommend more than three servings of dairy products per day for Americans, and they also recommend fat-free and low-fat options. This statement is based on research that has shown that saturated fats in full-fat products increase LDL cholesterol, a marker for heart disease. However, there is evidence that many nutrients are found in dairy products, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins K1 and K2, and probiotics (in yogurt) that could contribute to a healthy diet, the doctors explain.
Over 63,600 subjects were medically monitored over 20 years
Some previous research had shown that eating dairy products, especially cheese and yogurt, was associated with a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, but the results were contradictory. To verify this statement, the team evaluated the data from 20 years of more than 63,600 adults from 16 different studies. The participants were tested for milk fat biomarkers, molecules in the body that serve as indicators that milk products have been consumed. All adults were free from type 2 diabetes at the start of the study, but over 15,100 subjects developed this form of diabetes during the follow-up period.
Risk of type 2 diabetes was reduced by up to 30 percent
In all of the studies, the researchers analyzed the relationships of biomarkers for milk fat with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The experts found that subjects with higher concentrations of milk fat biomarkers had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Participants in the top fifth of the high concentrations of milk fat biomarkers had a 30 percent lower risk of the disease than the bottom fifth, the study authors explain. This result was independent of other potential risk factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical activity and obesity.
More research is needed
The results provide the most comprehensive global evidence to date of the relationship between the biomarkers of milk fat and the lower risk of type 2 diabetes, says study author Dr. Fumiaki Imamura from the Medical Research Council of the University of Cambridge. However, further investigations into the underlying mechanisms are now necessary. Doctors emphasize that the results do not indicate which dairy products offer the greatest protection. In future research, the team would also like to examine different types of milk products to determine whether the preparation methods play a role. (as)