While low-fat dairy is widely considered to be the best option as far as health and weight-control is concerned, the study found that adults whose blood contained high-levels of dairy fat were 46% less likely to develop the metabolic disease than those with low levels of dairy fat.
“There is no prospective human evidence that people who eat low-fat dairy do better than people who eat whole-fat dairy. In the absence of evidence for superior effects of low-fat dairy, and some evidence that there may be better benefits of whole fat dairy products for diabetes, why are we recommending only low-fat diary?” asked Dr Dariush Mozaffarian of the Tuffs Friedman School of Nutrition Science.
The research lead the researchers to conclude that fatty acids, plasma 15:0 and 17:0, and trans-16:1 n-7 are the three dairy biomarkers responsible for the lower incidence of diabetes.Mozaffarian says that these findings, together with other findings of this nature, should call for a re-evaluation in policy of recommending only low-fat dairy products as healthy options.
“Our findings suggest that national guidelines that focus only on low-fat dairy should be re-examined, allowing flexibility for individual consumers to select either whole or reduced-fat milk, cheese and yogurt,” he said.
He does, however, caution that the study is still premature and that the evidence is still insufficient to suggest that people should only go for full-fat dairy products, but adds that it is enough to suggest that low-fat dairy is not the only option.
“I am conservative about setting national dietary guidelines. While evidence remains insufficient to definitively recommend only whole-fat dairy, it certainly is robust enough not to recommend only low-fat dairy,” he said.
However, the study doesn’t answer why consuming whole-fat dairy products affects diabetes risk, but only says that it could be the dairy fatty acids themselves or other correlated factors in dairy fat that could reduce the risk of diabetes.