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A study of 2,375 middle-aged British men reports that those who drank at least a pint of milk a day were 62 percent less likely than non-milk-drinkers to have metabolic syndrome (defined as raised levels of two or more of the following: blood glucose, insulin, blood fats, body fat, and blood pressure).
And they were 56 percent less likely to have it if they ate other milk products like cheese and yogurt. In fact, the more total dairy the men consumed, the less likely they were to have metabolic syndrome.
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, went on to track the men over a twenty-year period, but the researchers found no link between dairy intake at the outset and future risk of diabetes.
According to the review, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, people with the highest intakes of vitamin D and calcium had an eighteen percent lower risk of diabetes than those who ate the least. And people who ate the most dairy foods had about a fourteen percent lower risk than those who ate the least.
The researchers hypothesize that calcium and vitamin D may be important in the functioning of pancreatic beta cells and in the body's use of insulin. They conclude that a lack of the nutrients might negatively influence blood sugar, while supplementation of both nutrients might be beneficial for optimizing glucose metabolism.
More clinical trials are called for, however, to determine if calcium or vitamin D should be recommended for managing type 2 diabetes.
Sources: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, August 2007; Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, July 2007; MedpageToday.com; Medline Plus
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