Higher dairy intake tied to lower T2D risk

Audrey Abella
14 Jun 2022
Higher dairy intake tied to lower T2D risk

Higher consumption of dairy products is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) among US adults, according to a nationally representative study presented at ADA 2022.

A total of 4,934 adults (mean age 50 years, 51 percent female) who participated in the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys were included in the study. About three-quarters (73.5 percent) of participants were overweight or obese. Seventeen percent had T2D. Data on milk, yogurt, and cheese intake (excluding dairy-based desserts) were extracted and categorized based on number of servings: non-consumers, <1 serving, 1 to <2 servings, and ≥2 servings. [ADA 2022, abstract 1172-P]

After adjusting for age, gender, BMI, smoking, vigorous physical activity, and Healthy Eating Index-2015, participants who reported ≥2 servings of dairy had a lower risk of T2D (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.9, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.81–0.99; p=0.049) compared with non-consumers.

On sensitivity analysis, the association between ≥2 servings of dairy and prevalent T2D showed directionally divergent results when incorporating dairy type-specific servings to the model (OR, 0.87, 95 percent CI, 0.76–0.99; p=0.036 [combined cheese and yogurt] vs OR, 0.9, 95 percent CI, 0.77–1.05; p=0.19 [milk]).

“After adjusting for overall diet quality, daily intake of ≥2 servings of dairy was associated with a modest 10-percent lower risk of T2D. This association seems to be driven by cheese and yogurt intake rather than by milk [consumption],” said investigators Dr Shaheen Tomah and Dr Osama Hamdy, both from the Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, US.

The findings seem to align with that of a previous study showing that not all dairy products do have a benefit against T2D development. In this study, apart from yogurt, no other dairy product seemed to be associated with T2D risk. [Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 2021;26:14-18]

Identifying modifiable risk factors important

On a global scale, 1 in 11 adults have T2D. It is therefore imperative to identify modifiable risk factors to prevent the development of T2D. [www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-prevalence.html, accessed June 13, 2022]

Dairy products contain a variety of substances essential for growth, immunity, blood coagulation, and nerve damage protection. [Adv Nutr 2019;10:S67-S73; Calcif Tissue Int 2016;98:1-17] Despite existing literature reflecting the benefit of dairy intake against T2D, there are contrasting data suggesting that dairy consumption promotes hormonal disturbances that could trigger the development of certain diseases, including T2D. [Am J Clin Nutr 2017;105:723-735; Am J Clin Nutr 2020;111:1018-1026; Nutr Res 2014;34:48-57; Nutr J 2016;15:91]

Randomized prospective intervention trials are thus warranted to further ascertain the benefit of dairy consumption against T2D.


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