In a new study, researchers found that drinking milk is linked to a lower risk of diabetes and hypertension.
They found a link between consuming a higher amount of dairy— especially whole-fat foods—and lower rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.
The research was conducted by a team at McMaster University and elsewhere.
The team examined nearly 150,000 people from 21 countries, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The age of participants varied, ranging from 35 to 70.
They used questionnaires to learn about participants’ food consumption throughout the year.
Those in the study outlined how many times they ate specific items from the list, which included dairy such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and meals made with dairy.
In addition, dairy products were classified as whole-fat or low-fat.
The team also examined participants’ medical history, prescriptions, blood pressure, waist circumference, and glucose and fat levels along with education, the latter of which is important in diagnosing type 2 diabetes.
They followed up with participants about nine years later and found that people consumed 179 grams of dairy each day (a little less than a glass of milk or a cup of yogurt) on average.
People in Europe and North and South America generally consumed more dairy than people in Asia and Africa.
There is an association of a 24% lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of symptoms that increase the risk of heart disease.
That lowered risk was tied to having a minimum of two servings of dairy per day compared to eating no dairy.
No association was found for a lowered risk of metabolic syndrome and consuming only low-fat dairy.
The team also found that consuming whole-fat dairy had a stronger association than low-fat dairy with lowering the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
But having at least two servings of any dairy product was linked to an 1112% lower risk of having the health conditions.
The team says higher intake of dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, especially whole-fat dairy rather than low-fat dairy, is linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome and with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes.
The findings dispel the myth that reduced-fat foods are healthier than whole-fat foods.
The lead author of the study is Andrew Mente, Ph.D., a principal investigator at the Population Health Research Institute.
The study is published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
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