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HIgh-Fat Dairy Products Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk

Update Date: Apr 02, 2015 06:16 PM EDT

Eating high-fat yogurt and cheese can actually lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

While previous studies have consistently found a link between high consumption of diary products to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, the latest study reveals that high-fat dairy products are even more effective in reducing the metabolic condition.

The latest study involved 27,000 participants between the ages of 45 and 74 who took part in the Malmö Diet and Cancer study in the early 1990s. Participants were asked to provide details of their eating habits.

"Those who ate the most high-fat dairy products had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least. High meat consumption was linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes regardless of the fat content of the meat," lead researcher Ulrika Ericson, said in a news release.

"When we investigated the consumption of saturated fatty acids that are slightly more common in dairy products than in meat, we observed a link with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. However, we have not ruled out the possibility that other components of dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese may have contributed to our results. We have taken into account many dietary and lifestyle factors in our analysis, such as fermentation, calcium, vitamin D and physical activity. However, there may be other factors that we have not been able to measure that are shared by those who eat large quantities of high-fat dairy products. Moreover, different food components can interact with each other. For example, in one study, saturated fat in cheese appeared to have less of a cholesterol-raising effect than saturated fat in butter," she added.

"Our results suggest that we should not focus solely on fat, but rather consider what foods we eat. Many foodstuffs contain different components that are harmful or beneficial to health, and it is the overall balance that is important," Ericson concluded.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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