High Dairy Intake During Teens May Reduce Diabetes Risk
New research has shown eating plenty of dairy foods as a teenager may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes during adulthood.
Scientists from Harvard School of Public Health examined the relationship between dairy food consumption during adolescence and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in 37,038 adult women from the renowned US Nurses' Health Study.
They found women who had a high intake of dairy foods in their mid-teens had a 38 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in middle age than those who had a low intake of dairy foods.
The positive effect of dairy foods was even greater for women who maintained the high dairy intake as adults. Women who consumed the highest quantity of dairy foods as a teenager and during middle age had a 43 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consistently had a low dairy intake.
The researchers also noted women who gained the least amount of weight during adulthood were the ones who had consumed the most dairy when they were a teenager.
These findings follow two new studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which showed eating the recommended three serves a day of dairy improves metabolic health and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dairy Australia dietitian Glenys Zucco said the results add to the growing body of evidence indicating dairy's positive role not only in improving nutrition and health but also in reducing risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes.
'With almost 800,000 Australians suffering from type 2 diabetes, there is a need to prevent this growing health issue. These results offer valuable insights into the role of nutrient-rich foods such as dairy in preventing diabetes," she said.
It is thought dairy's beneficial effects on risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as body weight and blood pressure, may be responsible for the positive results.
'Dairy foods naturally contain important nutrients such calcium, magnesium, and high quality proteins which are thought to promote weight loss and reduce blood pressure," Ms Zucco said.
'Including at least three daily serves of milk, cheese and yogurt throughout life will not only provide calcium for healthy bones, but a package of nutrients which may also protect against some chronic diseases."