Prepared Foods May 16, 2005 enewsletter

Eating low-fat dairy foods may reduce men's risk of type 2 diabetes, according to new Harvard research. The study, which included mostly men in their 50s, found that each increase of one daily serving of dairy foods resulted in a 9% reduction in diabetes risk, regardless of the other types of foods eaten, exercise level or family history of the disease.

"Men consuming higher levels of dairy products, especially low-fat dairy foods, had a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes during a 12-year period," said Dr. Hyon Choi, director of Outcomes Research in Massachusetts General Hospital's Rheumatology Unit and the paper's lead author. Choi said most men should consume up to two servings daily of low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese.

Previous studies had shown that dairy consumption could prevent insulin resistance, a harbinger of diabetes, but this is the first large-scale study to establish that dairy foods can reduce diabetes risk. Researchers said more study is needed to see whether the findings applied to women and younger men.