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Low-fat milk could curb diabetes risk, suggests study

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Low fat milk might lower diabetes risk

New research suggests women that drink low-fat milk during their teen years could have a 43 percent lower risk of developing diabetes in adulthood. According to researchers, drinking milk during adolescence is likely to become a life-long habit that can impact health later in life.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 37,000 women.

Harvard University scientists studied food intake in teens and adults, including milk and other dairy products.

Compared to participants that had one serving of dairy a day, the risk of type 2 diabetes was 42 percent lower for women who reported drinking4 servings of milk as teens, most of whom continued drinking the beverage into adulthood.

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They also found milk drinkers were thinner than their non-milk drinking counterparts, also a factor for lowering diabetes risk.

In a second study that included 440,000 participants, the Harvard scientists found a 17 percent lower chance of type 2 diabetes among people who swap low-fat milk for meat, especially as a protein source.

The studies are observational, but suggest protein from low-fat milk could help curb weight gain and lower the chances of type 2 diabetes. In the study, teens that drank 4 servings a day were found to have a significantly lower chance of developing diabetes. The study is funded by the nation’s milk processors through the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C.

1. Malik V, Sun Q, van Dam R, Rimm E, Willett W, Rosner B, Hu F. Adolescent dairy product consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011: 94;854-61.

2. Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein A, Schulze M, Manson J, Willett W, Hu F. Red meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011; 94:1-9.

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