Scientists in Sweden have discovered that eating a diet of fat-laden dairy products could help to prevent the development of diabetes.
In a study involving 26,930 people, it was found participants had a 23% less chance of developing Type 2 diabetes when they consumed eight or more portions of high fat dairy products a day.
This was compared to participants who only consumed one portion a day. This equates to 200g of milk, 20g of cheese, 25g of cream or 7g of butter.
The study also analysed the effects of each high-fat dairy product on a participant’s risk.
Those who increased their daily consumption of cream by 30ml a day – approximately two tablespoons – showed a reduced risk of 15% compared with those who had one tenth of this amount.
Individuals who consumed the biggest quantities of regular milk showed a 3% reduced risk, while those consuming high fat fermented milk products – such as yoghurts – were 20% less likely to develop the condition.
The scientists believe the fats in dairy products work to metabolise glucose and help to control insulin sensitivity.
Lead researcher, Dr Ulrika Ericson of Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden said of the findings: “[They] suggest that in contrast to animal fats in general, fats specific to dairy products may have a role in prevention of Type 2 diabetes.”
Significantly however, the study did not reveal any impact of low-fat dairy products on the development of Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes UK’s research communications manager, Dr Richard Elliot, said that although the study shows the importance of fat in our diet, it does not mean adding high-fat dairy products will protect us against Type 2 diabetes.
“Consumption of dairy products can form part of a healthy diet but it’s important to be aware of the amount as they can be high in calories which can contribute to becoming overweight and increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes,” he explained.
“More research will be needed before we change our advice that you should cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight through increased physical activity and a balanced diet low in salt, saturated fat and sugar and rich in fruit and vegetables.”