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Include dairy fats to prevent diabetes

Posted:  Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One generally perceives a diet as ‘healthy’ when the dietary fat content is restricted. However, a recent European study suggests that the fat in dairy products is in fact beneficial and may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The study found that subjects who consumed 8 or more portions of high fat dairy products per day had a 23% lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes as compared to those who ate 1 portion or less per day.

The study was designed to examine the effect of main dietary fats sources, classified according to fat content and their association with type-2 diabetes risk.. The results of the study were presented in this year's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).

The study included 26930 individuals, of which majority were women, aged 45-74 years from the population-based Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort. The dietary data was recorded using a modified diet history method. Modelling was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) of diabetes incidence in quintiles of energy adjusted dietary intakes. The model included adjustments for age, sex, season, diet assessment method version, total energy intake, BMI, leisure time physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and education.

The researchers found that increased intake of high fat dairy products (8 or more portions a day) was associated with a 23% lower incidence of type 2 diabetes risk among the highest dairy fat consuming quintile (20% of the participants) as compared to lowest dairy fat (1 portion a day) consuming quintile.

The researchers also looked at the effect of consuming specific high fat dairy products like cream and high fat fermented milk on type-2 diabetes. They found:

• A 15% reduction in risk of developing type 2 diabetes in individuals with high cream consumption versus individuals with lower consumption levels.(30ml or more a day in the highest consuming 20% versus 0.3ml a day or less in the lowest consuming 20%).

• A 20% reduction in risk of developing type 2 diabetes in individuals with high fat fermented milk consumption compared to individuals with lower consumption levels. (180ml/day, the top 10% of consumers versus non-consumers, 60% of participants).

The researchers found that high intakes of meat and meat products were, regardless of fat content, associated with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Our observations may contribute to clarifying previous findings regarding dietary fats and their food sources in relation to Type-2 diabetes. The decreased risk at high intakes of high- fat dairy products, but not of low-fat dairy products, indicate that dairy fat, at least partly, explains observed protective associations between dairy intake and Type-2 diabetes,” concluded co-author of the study Dr. Erickson.

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