Eating cheese on a regular basis may help protect against type 2 diabetes, with new research suggesting that cheese lovers are less likely to develop the disease than those who rarely snack on the dairy product.
As part of one of the largest ever studies on the role of diet in health, British and Dutch researchers examined the eating habits of 16,800 healthy adults and 12,400 patients with type 2 diabetes from eight European countries, including the UK.
When examining dairy consumptio, they found that found that the risk of type 2 diabetes was 12 per cent lower for those who ate at least 55 grams of cheese a day — around two slices. The risk fell by the same amount for those who ate 55 grams of yoghurt a day, but none of the other dairy products showed the same health benefit.
The research team, which included academics from the Medical Research Council, Cambridge, said while cheese is high in saturated fat, it may be rich in specific types of the fat that are actually beneficial for the body.
They explained that the so-called probiotic bacteria in cheese and yoghurt can lower cholesterol and produce certain vitamins that protect against diabetes and heart disease.
However, they concluded that while their study identified a link between regular cheese consumption and lowered diabetes risk, further research needs to be carried out to help gain a better understanding of the role of cheese in chronic diseases.
The research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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