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Dairy Products May Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men

May 23, 2006

Men who have a high dairy intake have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

“Diet and lifestyle modifications can substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes,” write Hyon K. Choi, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues. “While a strong inverse association has been reported between dairy consumption and the insulin resistance syndrome among young obese adults, the relation between dairy intake and type 2 diabetes is unknown.”

The investigators prospectively examined the relationship between dairy intake and incident cases of type 2 DM in 41,254 male participants with no history of DM, cardiovascular disease, and cancer when enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

During 12 years of follow-up, there were 1,243 incident cases of type 2 DM. Dairy intake was associated with a modestly lower risk of type 2 DM. Compared with men in the lowest quintile of dairy intake, the relative risk (RR) for type 2 DM in men in the top quintile of dairy intake was 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62 – 0.95; P for trend = .003), after adjustment for body mass index (BMI), physical activity, dietary factors, and other potential confounders.

For each serving-per-day increase in total dairy intake, there was a 9% lower risk for type 2 DM (multivariate RR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85 – 0.97). The corresponding RR was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.81 – 0.94) for low-fat dairy intake and 0.99 (95% CI, 0.91 – 1.07) for high-fat dairy intake. BMI did not affect this association (< 25 vs >/= 25 kg/m2; P for interaction, .57).

“Dietary patterns characterized by higher dairy intake, especially low-fat dairy intake, may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in men,” the authors write.

Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:975-976, 997-1003

Practice Notes: Higher dairy intake may decrease the risk of colon cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke. It may also improve control of hypertension but has been demonstrated to increase the risk of prostate cancer. Dairy products, particularly low-fat products, can reduce the risk of developing DM in middle-aged men.