Study Links Low-Fat Dairy to Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

December 2, 2011

The U.S. Dairy Research Institute (Rosemont, IL) hailed these primary findings, noting in a press release that the benefits of dairy on type 2 diabetes risk could be related to improved glucose tolerance.

An analysis of food frequency questionnaires from the historical Women’s Health Initiative has linked low-fat dairy and yogurt consumption to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes development. The research is now available in the Journal of Nutrition.

The 1991 Women’s Health Initiative provided data sets and clinical trials on over 82,000 postmenopausal women.

University and public hospital researchers looked for associations between dairy and yogurt consumption and type 2 diabetes risks. After adjusting for confounding variables, low-fat dairy and yogurt, regardless of fat level, were both associated with decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. The link between dairy consumption and reduced risk was most pronounced in women with high body mass index (BMI).

“Given that there is no clear mechanism for the inverse association of low-fat dairy product or yogurt consumption and type 2 diabetes, it is worth considering the possibility that our findings result from unmeasured or residual confounding despite extensive adjustment for other dietary variables and risk factors for diabetes,” warned the researchers.

The U.S. Dairy Research Institute (Rosemont, IL) hailed these primary findings, noting in a press release that the benefits of dairy on type 2 diabetes risk could be related to improved glucose tolerance. The group has compiled a growing body of evidence on the potential relationship between dairy and diabetes.

This Women’s Health Initiative analysis was funded by NIH, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute.