Recently, a new study whose findings appear in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care looks at the association between consumption of dairy items such as milk and the risk of developing chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure or hypertension and concludes that a higher amount of dairy products can significantly lower the chances of having chronic health issues.
Statistically, chronic health conditions including both diabetes and hypertension are on the rise among all age groups around the world. Both of the issues have been related to heart disease and can contribute to cardiovascular events which are potentially life-threatening such as having a heart attack.
Therefore, health professionals usually suggest people have a healthy lifestyle that including a good diet and exercise, both of which can cut down the risk of developing the aforementioned health problems to a great extent.
Previous research has already established that certain foods in the daily diet can both help in cutting down as well as increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. For instance, people who consume high-sugar and processed foods very often are more likely to have diabetes.
In a similar way, processed foods have also been linked to the risk of having hypertension as they are very high in sodium and may even contain dangerous additives that help in elevating blood pressure in a person.
Researchers in the new study looked at the diet of approximately 150,000 from twenty-one different countries from South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The average age of the participants was between thirty-five to seventy.
The diets of the participants were categorized in accordance with specific lists and the intake of specific foods was noted. For example, the researchers examined how many times a participant consumed foods from the dairy products list such as cheese, yogurt, milk, and even foods prepared using dairy items.
The dairy fat list was also further divided into high-fat dairy and low-fat dairy for better and more accurate assessment and results.
Other dairy-based products such as ice-cream, butter, and cream were not counted as their consumption varied from country to country and even areawise within each of the countries.
In addition to the diet, the researchers also looked at other potential factors that can contribute to health issues such as waist circumference, medical history, blood pressure, previously prescribed medicines, blood-sugar levels, cholesterol and fat levels, and even education of each of the participants.
Read more on diet and type 2 diabetes here.
After a year of assessing these factors along with diet, the researchers did a follow up nine years later and found that the average consumption of dairy products in the participants was around one hundred and seventy-nine grams which one bowl of yogurt of a glass of milk every day.
Participants from North America, Europe, and South America were more likely to consume dairy and dairy-based products than others. Secondly, people from these continents also preferred low-fat dairy products over full-fat dairy products, unlike Asia and Africa.
After assessing the risk of health issues and dairy consumption, it was discovered that frequent dairy consumption was associated with a twenty-four percent decreased risk of developing metabolic problems including type 2 diabetes.
An interesting finding was also that the risk was seen to further reduce in people who consumed full-fat dairy products than low-fat dairy.
According to the researchers, these findings can be helpful in creating better diet plans for those who are at high risk of developing hypertension or metabolic disorders. In addition, they also hope that the results help people to not believe the myth of reduced-fat foods being healthier than full-fat ones.