by Amanda Smith, Associate Editor

Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 26 million people in the U.S. Due to the enormous medical and economic burdens it poses, prevention had become a public health imperative, noted a recent study from Harvard. Because of the high calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, whey protein and fatty acid content, dairy product consumption has been suggested to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D).

The study aimed to evaluate the association between total dairy and individual types of dairy consumption and the incident of type 2 diabetes in U.S. adults. The researchers followed 41,436 men and 153,022 women across multiple decades. Dietary information was collected with food frequency questionnaires; questionnaires were updated every four years. A total of 15,156 cases of diabetes were documented.

After adjusting for age, body mass index, and other lifestyle and dietary risk factors, total dairy consumption did not lessen the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Low-fat and high-fat dairy intake did not have an impact either.

Yogurt intake, however, was linked to a significantly lower T2D risk. This correlation remained even after correcting for factors linked to an individual's diabetes risk, such as body mass index and diet. The researchers found that a daily serving of yogurt was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of developing the disease.

It is currently unclear why this relationship exists. One possible explanation: the probiotic bacteria in yogurt, with their fat profile and antioxidant status improving qualities, could lower the overall risk.

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