Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimated that 1 in 10 people 37 million Americans live with diabetes, and over 1 in 3 people have prediabetes.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D), the most prevalent form of diabetes, develops when the body becomes resistant to the insulin the pancreas produces or when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels.
In a new study, researchers at the University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy, have gathered evidence showing that certain foods can cut the risk of T2D onset.
Annalisa Giosuè, Ph.D., of the institution’s Department of Clinical Medicine, spearheaded an extensive investigation to explore the relationship between different animal-based foods and the condition. Giosuè presented her team’s findings at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference.
Current dietary guidelines for T2D prevention recommend limited intake of most animal products. However, research suggests that certain animal products might offer health benefits for lowering T2D risk.
“Type 2 diabetes is one of the major causes of diet-related death worldwide. Learning more about how different dietary components increase or decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes is key to its prevention,” Dr. Giosuè said in a statement.
To that end, Giosuè and colleagues examined 13 existing meta-analyses that studied which foods were linked to increased risk of T2D. They said that this type of “review of reviews” pulls together one of the most comprehensive levels of evidence possible in medical research.
Dr. Giosuè and her team found that dairy foods might offer protection against T2D or have no effect on its onset. Consumption of 200 g (almost 1 cup) of milk was associated with a 10% lower risk of T2D, and 100 g (3.52 oz) of yogurt correlated with a 6% risk reduction. A cup of total dairy and low fat dairy were each associated with a 5% and 3% reduced T2D risk, respectively. However, the meta-analyses showed that cheese and full-fat dairy did not affect T2D risk. The quality of the evidence was low to moderate, though.
During the interview with MNT, Dr. Giosuè mentioned several benefits of regularly eating dairy products:
“Nutritionally speaking, dairy products are a source of nutrients, vitamins, and other components (namely calcium, proteins, peptides, etc.) with potential beneficial effects on glucose metabolism. For instance, whey protein in milk has a well-known effect on the modulation of the rise of glucose blood levels after meals, and also on the control of appetite and body weight.” “Protective effects in relation to body weight gain and obesity — drivers of type 2 diabetes development — have [also] been reported for probiotics, which can be found in yogurt, the other dairy item whose consumption is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes,” she continued.
Other low-quality evidence suggested that neither daily 100 g servings of fish nor one egg per day impact T2D risk significantly.
The Italian researchers acknowledged that the 13 meta-analyses included inferior data in some cases. Thus, they are hesitant to offer “solid recommendations” for T2D prevention based on their study at this time.
Nevertheless, Dr. Giosuè commented:
“Our study gives further support to the belief that a plant-based dietary pattern including limited intakes of meat, moderate intakes of fish, eggs and full-fat dairy and the habitual consumption of yogurt, milk or low fat dairy, might represent the most feasible, sustainable and definitely successful population strategy to optimize the prevention of type 2 diabetes.”