High-Fat Dairy Nixes Diabetes
Earlier this week I wrote about new research that shows that consumption of dairy is linked to lower risks of high blood pressure in men and women. It’s also associated with lower body weight among men. After years of bad PR, milk is poised to make a comeback. New research continues to pile up showing that greater consumption of dairy is linked to better health.
For instance, at this year’s annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Vienna, Austria, investigators from Sweden presented findings that show that people with the highest intakes of full-fat dairy products enjoyed a 23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people with the lowest intakes. High intake was defined as eight or more portions of dairy, every day.
That’s startling, I think. As I reported earlier this week, the Canadian government recommends that its’ citizens get 2-4 servings of dairy, daily. But the folks in this study were consuming twice the upper limit of that recommendation. And they were consuming full-fat dairy.
In the wake of the low-fat craze of the 1970s and 1980s, full-fat dairy was considered all but poison. People were convinced that the obscenely rich fat content in whole dairy was sure to clog one’s arteries. But we now know that the link between saturated fats and heart disease risk was more or less an illusion. In fact, artificial trans fats—common in prepared foods and semi-artificial foods like margarine—were far more dangerous. Trans fats, which have largely been eliminated from the food chain, were the real culprits driving heart disease numbers up all those years.
So it seems we need to reevaluate our attitudes towards natural foods, like full-fat dairy. Far from being “dangerous,” these foods are evidently highly beneficial. Dairy fats appear to affect glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. In a press release, Dr Ulrika Ericson, of Lund University Diabetes Center said: “The decreased risk at high intakes of high-fat dairy products, but not of low-fat dairy products, indicate that dairy fat explains observed protective associations between dairy intake and type 2 diabetes.” She added: "Our findings suggest, that in contrast to animal fats in general, fats specific to dairy products may have a role in prevention of type 2 diabetes."
This adds to a growing body of evidence that shows that dairy fats are not only not to be avoided—they may actually help protect you from certain serious, common diseases.
Diabetologia. "Consumption of high-fat dairy products associated with lower risk of developing diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2014. .
Laura M. O’Connor, Marleen A. H. Lentjes, Robert N. Luben, Kay-Tee Khaw, Nicholas J. Wareham, Nita G. Forouhi. Dietary dairy product intake and incident type 2 diabetes: a prospective study using dietary data from a 7-day food diary. Diabetologia, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00125-014-3176-1