News & tips on health, fitness and nutrition

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dairy Foods May Prevent Diabetes

New research points to a link between higher levels of a fatty acid found in dairy and a reduced risk of diabetes.

According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, consumption of dairy products seems to be linked to a decreased risk of diabetes. Milk, cheese, yogurt and butter all contain trans-palmitoleic acid, a fatty acid that cannot be made by the body. The study looked at more than 3,700 people and found that those with higher levels of the fatty acid had a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and those with the highest levels had dropped their risk by as much as 60%.

According to, the study's lead author says, "The magnitude of this association is striking.... This represents an almost three-fold difference in risk of developing diabetes among individuals with the highest blood levels of this fatty acid."

Scientists do caution that people shouldn't take the findings to mean that it's a good idea to overeat dairy foods. They can be high in fat and overeating can lead to weight gain. It's best to choose lower fat dairy foods.

More study is needed to determine the role of trans-palmitoleic acid in nutritional health. Sticking with a healthy balanced diet and getting exercise is the best way to maintain health.

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