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Cheese Might Protect Against Type II Diabetes

Good news for cheese-lovers! A study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition corroborates other studies that suggest that dairy foods are protective against Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). The new study, entitled “Food sources of fat may clarify the inconsistent role of dietary fat intake for incidence of type 2 diabetes,” comes from researchers at Lund University in Sweden who looked at different sources of saturated fat (such as cheese, butter, and meat) and the effects that saturated fat has on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.

Results of the study suggest that high-fat dairy products cut the risk of of developing T2D significantly. In fact, those who ate the most high fat dairy of the 27,000 people the study looked at had a 23% lower risk of developing T2D than those people who at the least amount of high-fat dairy. But head researcher, Dr. Ulrika Ericson, cautions that not all saturated fat is created equal. While saturated fat–laden dairy products seem to lower the risk, meat appeared to increase the risk of developing T2D, among other diseases, regardless of the meat’s fat content. The researchers hope to further explore this relationship between high-fat dairy products and the risk of developing T2D. Specifically, they’d like to figure out whether those people consuming higher fat dairy products tend to lead healthier lifestyles overall than those who do not consume such a high amount. Furthermore, the specific components present in high-fat dairy foods that contribute to this lowered risk are still unknown.

The protective benefits of dairy products, from preventing tooth decay to stabilizing blood sugar, are nothing new. So what does this mean for you? Well, scientists still tout the benefits of a vegetarian diet, but that doesn’t mean that your healthy eating plan can’t include some delicious cheese! In fact, your cheese and crackers plate could be doing your health a favor. Cheese on!

Michelina DelGizzi

Michelina DelGizzi, MS, MPH, is a writer and caseophile based in Boston and Lafayette, La.

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