Regular consumption of full-fat dairy products can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to eating low-fat dairy products, new research finds.
The findings are reported by two separate studies: the first appears in the journal Circulation and the second is published in the American Journal of Nutrition.
In the first study, researchers at Tufts University, Bosto, United States analysed participants from the Nurses’ Health and Health Professional Follow-Up Study.
They found that participants with the highest levels of dairy fat in the blood had up to a 46 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a 15-year span compared to people with the lowest levels of dairy fats in the blood.
The study team hypothesised that dairy fats could improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, but added that they cannot be sure how whole fat reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes.
“Our findings highlight need to better understand potential health effects of dairy fat; and dietary and metabolic determinants of these fatty acids,” they said.
In the second study, researchers at Harvard Medical School examined the effects of full-fat and low-fat dairy products on middle-aged women at risk of becoming obese.
The women, who had participated in the Women’s Health Study, had an eight per cent reduced risk of being overweight or obese if they consumed more high-fat dairy products.
Study author Susanne Rautiaine, from Harvard Medical School in Bosto, said: “We saw less weight gain for higher total dairy and high-fat dairy intake and also a lower risk of becoming overweight and obese in those who consumed more high-fat dairy.”
“Dairy products contain several components that may contribute to less weight gain and lower risk of becoming overweight or obese, including proteins, vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus,” the researchers wrote.
Many health organisations, such as the NHS, advocate consuming low-fat dairy products, but the results of these studies contradict this advice.
However, both sets of researchers urged caution over their findings, insisting that further research is required to establish the beneficial effects of full-fat dairy products.

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