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Full-fat dairy may fight diabetes risk

Dairy products

Full-fat dairy may not make your thighs look like cottage cheese. In fact, it may lower your diabetes risk, according to new research.

Researchers studied 3,333 adults. Beginning in the late 1980s, they tracked biomarkers of dairy fat in the subjects’ blood. They also recorded who developed diabetes.

"People who had the most dairy fat in their diet had about a 50 percent lower risk of diabetes" compared with people who consumed the least dairy fat, Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, an author of the study, told NPR.

While the research, published in the journal Circulation, does not establish a cause and effect relationship, it does add to growing evidence that suggests dairy fat may have protective effects, not only in reducing the risk of diabetes but also in helping people control their weight.

"It appears that children who have a higher intake of whole milk or 2 percent milk gain less weight over time" compared with kids who drink skim or nonfat dairy products, DeBoer told NPR. Butter and whole milk eaters had more success managing their weight over 12 years in a 2014 Swedish study.

How might full-fat dairy work this magic? Scientists aren’t quite sure. Some believe it could be that the fat makes you less hungry to eat other foods, and, that people who eat low-fat dairy compensate by stuffing themselves with carbs.

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