A study published in the April 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that overweight young adults who consume more dairy products, such as milk, may be less likely to become obese and develop type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The study examined the relationship between dairy intake and insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), a pre-diabetic condition that affects about one in four adults. IRS occurs when the body’s cells are resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas – which means blood sugar is not properly controlled and the body may compensate by trying to produce even more insulin. Studies indicate that IRS may increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The researchers looked at the eating patterns of 3,157 African American and Caucasian young adults, both male and female over a 10-year period. Two comprehensive food intake reports were averaged – one taken at the start of the study and one taken seven years later – to determine participants’ intake of dairy foods.
The results showed that overweight individuals who consumed dairy products more than 35 times a week suffered 72 percent less insulin resistance syndrome than those who consumed dairy less than 10 times a week. According to the study, overweight individuals typically consumed fewer dairy products than their normal-weight counterparts. In addition, individuals who consumed more dairy foods were more likely to have healthier eating habits overall with higher intakes of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lower intakes of sugar-sweetened soft drinks. This population-based study (known as CARDIA or the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study) is part of the growing body of evidence that links dairy food consumption to body weight regulation and reduced risk of high blood pressure.
Specifically, the DASH studies (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) have shown that including at least three servings of lowfat dairy foods and 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables in the diet provides heart-healthy benefits including lowering blood pressure.
Source: Pereira, M.A. et al. Dairy consumption, obesity, and the insulin resistance syndrome in young adults: The CARDIA Study. JAMA 2002; 287: 2081-2089.