LONDON (Dispatches) -- Eating at least two daily servings of dairy is linked to lower risks of diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as the cluster of factors that heighten cardiovascular disease risk (metabolic syndrome), finds a large international study.
The observed associations were strongest for full fat dairy products, the findings indicated.
Participants were all aged between 35 and 70 and came from 21 countries: Argentina; Bangladesh; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; India; Iran; Malaysia; Palestine; Pakistan; Philippines, Poland; South Africa; Saudi Arabia; Sweden; Tanzania; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; and Zimbabwe.
Usual dietary intake over the previous 12 months was assessed by means of Food Frequency Questionnaires. Dairy products included milk, yogurt, yogurt drinks, cheese and dishes prepared with dairy products, and were classified as full or low fat (1-2%).
Butter and cream were assessed separately as these are not commonly eaten in some of the countries studied.
Information on personal medical history, use of prescription medicines, educational attainment, smoking and measurements of weight, height, waist circumference, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose were also collected.
Nevertheless, the researchers suggest: "If our findings are confirmed in sufficiently large and long term trials, then increasing dairy consumption may represent a feasible and low cost approach to reducing [metabolic syndrome], hypertension, diabetes, and ultimately cardiovascular disease events worldwide.”