"A Prospective Study of Dairy Intake and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women" - was published in the July 2006 issue of Diabetes Care (the journal of the American Diabetes Association), and provides further support that low-fat dairy may be associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
The epidemiological study included more than 37,000 middle-aged (48-62 years old) health professional women over a 10 year period (from the Women's Health Study) and found that "each serving-per-day increase in dairy intake was associated with a 4% lower risk of type 2 diabetes."
Study participants who were in the highest quintile of daily dairy intake (>2.9 servings) had a 21 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those in the lowest quintile of daily dairy intake(<0.85 servings); providing further support for the Dietary Guideline's recommendation for three daily servings of dairy. Although the results were self reported, researchers note that the health professional characteristic of this study cohort may suggest the results are more valid.
The researchers conclude that "a dietary pattern that incorporates higher low-fat dairy products may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged or older women." Additional findings to note:
Researchers initially found women with higher intake of lower-fat dairy generally had healthier lifestyle patterns. Inversely, women with higher intake of higher-fat dairy foods had less healthy lifestyle patterns. However, among those consuming more low-fat dairy, when researchers adjusted for these improved lifestyle factors, low-fat dairy was still associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Findings suggest that dairy has an effect on the incidence of type 2 diabetes, independent of individual dietary factors of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, fat, fiber and glycemic load. Researchers also found dairy consumption's effect on incidence of type 2 diabetes to be independent of BMI.
Authors noted that exact mechanisms are unclear, but suggest there are favorable effects of dairy foods in the diet beyond type 2 diabetes, such as improved BMI, blood pressure, cardiovascular health and reduced risk of insulin resistance syndrome.