Most diets that seem successful limit dairy these days. Both in terms of ft content and overall calorie consumption as well as those facing food sensitivities. Dairy is often among the first things to be cut from a diet when someone wants to lose weight or when someone is challenged with gut issues. But one study may change this thinking. Could dairy protect against hypertension and diabetes? According to this recent international study, it may even be a key to prevention.
Could Dairy Protect Against Hypertension And Diabetes?
A study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care found that increasing whole fat dairy intake reduced the risk of hypertension and diabetes. This seems to back up previous research, which showed that consuming dairy is associated with lower blood pressure. So maybe we shouldn't be so quick to cut dairy from our diets after all.
The BMJ study included 147,812 people from 21 countries. Participants consumed milk, yogurt, cheese and meals that were prepared with dairy items. Researchers separated data for various types of milk, yogurt and cheese, such as skim, whole and low-fat.
Data was sorted into classifications based on medical history, blood pressure, glucose levels, prescriptions and more. The study looked specifically at metabolic syndrome, which is related to both hypertension and diabetes. Here’s what they found.
Researchers found that consuming at least two servings of dairy per day resulted in a 24% reduction in metabolic syndrome, as compared with having no dairy at all. The servings in the study were measured based on 179 grams, which is slightly less than a glass of milk or a cup of yogurt—so let's not take this as permission to binge on ice cream (sadly).
Dairy appeared to lower the risk of metabolic disease by 24%. But the type of dairy also made a difference. When all of the dairy consumed was whole fat, there was a 28% reduction in metabolic disease. When only low-fat dairy was consumed, there was no reduction in risk.
What does this all mean for the average person? Consuming two servings of whole-fat dairy might help lower your risk of diabetes and hypertension but it might also not be the dairy at all, but might be the fat, or the calcium, or some other reason for the lowered risk—more studies are clearly needed to get at the truth. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before making any drastic changes to your diet and if dairy isn't already on the menu, don't let this push you in that direction because, as we said, there's just not enough information to confirm that it's the dairy and not the ingredients therein that make the difference. Those with lactose intolerance should obviously avoid consuming dairy and there may be other reasons to avoid it, too—so we urge caution. But if you love a daily yogurt, at least now you have a reason to feel good about it.
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