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Skip the Skim to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes


If you’re like most people today, you grab the skim or 1% milk because of the decreased amount of calories and fat. But are you really doing the best thing for your health? Recent science says perhaps not, since dairy fat is showing promise for decreasing the risk of diabetes.

Published in the journal Circulation, this study followed 3,333 adults beginning in 1989 and collecting results through 2010. Their blood was tested for markers resulting from higher fat dairy consumption, and they were tracked to watch for the development of diabetes.


Somewhat surprisingly, those who consumed higher-fat dairy (e.g. whole or 2% milk) had a 50% decreased risk of developing this disease. Furthermore, for those concerned about weight gain, higher-fat milk is associated with lower fat waistlines, as noted in another recent study. This is especially true for children who are fed dairy products, as those who drank the higher fat versions tended to stay slimmer over time.

There are a couple of reasons that high fat dairy offers more benefits. The first is that the fat in dairy contains vitamins and minerals that human bodies need to be healthy. These vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, are better absorbed in whole food form like milk fat, and are important for metabolic function.


The other reason full-fat dairy might be better is that milk is heavy in sugar. The fats in full-fat dairy slow down the digestion of the sugars in milk, since fats make the stomach take longer to empty. This means that the sugars in milk enter your bloodstream more slowly, giving you more sustained energy without the immediate blood sugar spike and ravenous hunger later.

The low fat versions of dairy tend to spike blood glucose and insulin, which leads to drops in these blood levels soon afterwards. This leads to a rollercoaster of hunger that can be hard to control. These out of control spikes and dips can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes, so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing your foods and drinks.

The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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