National and global health organizations recognize factors, such as poor diet and physical inactivity, as key contributors to the epidemics of overweight, obesity and several diet-related chronic diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes. In US, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee evaluated emerging evidence about the effect of dairy food consumption on key chronic. Their review led to the following statement in the 2010 DGA: “Moderate evidence…indicates that intake of milk and milk products is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and with lower blood pressure in adults”. This new meta-analysis on dairy products and incident diabetes funded by Wageningen University reinforces this association.
14% less diabetes risk with yogurt
The authors performed a meta-analysis to quantify the associations of incident T2D with dairy foods at different levels of intake. Their literature search included the PubMed, Scopus, and Embase databases (from inception to 14 April 2015) and focused on international prospective cohort studies (22 studies comprised of 579,832 individuals and 43,118 T2D cases) that examined the association between dairy and incident T2D in healthy adults.
Results showed the importance of the subtype of dairy message in the T2D prevention. Indeed, total dairy and low-fat dairy were inversely associated with T2D risk (RR: 0.97 & 0.96 per 200-g/d increment). A much stronger inverse association was found for yogurt intake (at 80 g/d, RR: 0.86 compared with no consumption) and… surprisingly ice cream intake (by the way, at very low intake ∼10 g/d, RR: 0.81). But no added incremental benefits were found at a higher intake for total dairy, while other dairy types were not associated with T2D risk.
A specific effect of yogurt
The main conclusion of this paper confirms previously published meta-analysis suggesting an inverse association of dairy food, in particular yogurt, with incident T2D. However it is important to highlight the fact that, as observed in previous meta-analysis, the global trend on dairy products and T2D is positive but there is high heterogeneity between types of dairy products and study populations. According to the authors, a strong emerging evidence linking higher yogurt intake with lower risk for T2D indicates nowadays that the process of milk fermentation that produces yogurt may modify milk in a beneficial way. Research is needed to better understand this observed association.