Eating eight portions of full fat dairy per day, compared to one or fewer portions, was linked with a 23 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over a 14 year study.
That is the outcome of a study by researchers at Lund University Diabetes Center in Sweden that has been presented at the EASD (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) in Vienna.
The study’s findings are in direct contrast to the Department of Health’s diet recommendations to shun full fat dairy products in favour of low fat versions. Low fat dairy usually has fewer calories than full fat dairy but compensates for the lower fat content with more carbohydrate and sugar. When the study looked at consumption of low fat dairy, they found no reduction in diabetes risk.
The study involved around 27,000 people that had taken part in the Swedish Malmö Diet and Cancer Study. Participants were aged between 45 and 74 and they were monitored for 14 years. At the end of the monitoring period 2,680 had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
As stated earlier, people who ate 8 or more servings of full fat dairy had a 23% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. A serving was regarded as 200ml of yoghurt or milk, 25g of cream and 7g of butter. Other factors that could have affected the results, such as BMI, physical activity, smoking status and alcohol consumption were accounted for so as not to bias the results.
The researchers also reviewed effects of meat intake. Whilst meat intake was associated with greater risk of type 2 diabetes, fatty meat was associated with less risk than lean meat. These findings also contrast with the Department of Health recommendations which encourage lean meat over red meat.
The findings of the study support another recent study which also showed saturated fats from dairy to be associated with lower risks of diabetes.
Dr Ulrika Ericso, lead author of the study, stated: “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.”

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