Diabetes and Dairy Products

diabetes and dairyAlthough milk was previously considered to have a negative impact on diabetes, new research suggests the complete opposite. Earlier research had linked bovine serum albumin (BSA), a cow’s milk protein, to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in susceptible children, particularly if cow’s milk was introduced early to a baby’s diet. However, subsequent studies have failed to identify a definite association between the cows’ milk proteins and Type 1 diabetes, and it was not warranted to avoid cow’s milk during childhood to reduce the risk.


Those with type 2 diabetes are recommended to follow a healthy balanced diet low in saturated fats, high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Further recommendations were to reduce the intake of both alcohol and salt. Recent research has shown that dairy foods and milk can be protective against insulin resistance and diabetes in adults who are obese.


One study, the CARDIA study, showed that obese people who consumed more than 5 servings per day of dairy products had reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes by up to 70% in comparison to those who had a diet much lower in dairy.


Another study which took 10 years to complete and involved more than 37,000 middle aged woman, also found that dairy intake was associated with the development and risk of type 2 diabetes. Again, those with the highest intake of dairy had a much lower risk rate compared to those with a low intake of dairy products in their diet. It was also found during this study that each extra serving of dairy was associated with a further 4% decrease in risk.


It is possibly the calcium in dairy products that is the important factor in reducing the risk of diabetes, and calcium has been shown to be associated with lower insulin resistance. Also, those with a higher intake of calcium have lower rates of obesity. One particular study found that by increasing the calcium intake in girls who are obese can be associated with a marked decrease in insulin resistance as well as body fat.


Recently, it has been suggested that low-fat dairy may also lower the risk of diabetes by increasing production of adiponectin. This hormone is involved in the metabolism of fat and blood sugar, and increased rates of adiponectin production have proven to improve the response of the body to insulin and to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.


A low GI (Glycemic Index) diet is highly recommended for diabetes patients, and milk has a low GI, which results in glucose being released at a much slower rate therefore helping to keep blood glucose levels constant. For even better results, plain yogurt and skimmed milk are even lower on the GI scale. A diet high in dairy and fruit, low in cereals and potatoes, has shown to be effective in improving sensitivity to insulin in patients over 65 years. A low-GI diet is important in helping to manage and maintain healthy blood glucose levels in those persons with type 2


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