Surprising Advice for Diabetes Prevention: Eat Cheese
Cheese lovers could be 12 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, research finds. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can eat cheese with abandon.
People with an elevated diabetes risk are often told to avoid high-fat foods, such as cheese, but a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that a diet rich in cheese might actually prevent the disease from developing.
The reason? Cheese’s particular brand of fat and fermentation process, researchers in the Netherlands concluded. A study of more than 300,000 people across eight European countries indicated that total dairy consumption was not associated with diabetes risk. But cheese and other fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and thick, fermented milk were inversely associated with type 2 diabetes.
Out of all the dairy products, cheese was found to lower risk the most. Researchers say that though results are promising, more research needs to be done to determine a link between fermented dairy and diabetes risk.
Fat and Your Diabetes-Prevention Diet
Because numerous studies have found high-fat diets to be associated with diabetes risk and inflammation in the body, which is linked to a host of other chronic diseases, this research does not give you a free pass to go cheese-crazy.
“Diabetes puts people at increased risk for heart disease, which is why it’s important to watch your fat intake,” says Dara Gurau, RD at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto. “Cheese and dairy products are higher in saturated fat, so it’s best to choose lower fat varieties of these foods such as skim milk, fat-free yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and hard cheeses with less than 16 percent milk fat.”
To cut your diabetes risk, Gurau also suggests avoiding the trans fats found in margarine, fried foods, and any foods that list hydrogenated oil as an ingredient. For healthy fat sources, add more olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives to your diet, Gurau suggests. She also recommends adding two to three servings of fatty fish, such as mackerol or salmon, to your diet per week. The omega-3 fatty acids found in such fish are essential for skin, heart, and brain health, and may also lessen diabetes risk.
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