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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Drinking milk cuts diabetes risk
Milk
Milk consumption has fallen in recent years
Drinking a pint of milk a day may protect men against diabetes and heart disease, say UK researchers.

Eating dairy products reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome - a cluster of symptoms which increase likelihood of the conditions - the Welsh team found.

In the 20-year study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, metabolic syndrome increased the risk of death by 50%.

Experts recommended people only eat two or three portions of dairy a day.

Dairy products are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet and we would recommend people aim to eat two to three servings of low fat dairy a day
Jemma Edwards, Diabetes UK

The University of Cardiff study of 2,375 men aged between 45 and 59 classified metabolic syndrome as having two or more out of high blood glucose, insulin, blood fats, body fat, and blood pressure.

Over the 20-year period, food questionnaires and weekly food diaries were used to assess how much milk and dairy foods the men consumed.

At the start of the study 15% had metabolic syndrome and had almost double the risk of coronary artery heart disease and four times the risk of diabetes of those without the syndrome.

But the researchers found men were 62% less likely to have the syndrome if they drank a pint or more of milk every day, and 56% less likely to have it if they regularly ate other dairy produce.

The more dairy produce the men consumed, the less likely were they to have the syndrome.

Healthy diet

Study leader, Professor Peter Elwood, said milk consumption has plummeted in the UK over the past 25 years, amid concerns about its impact on health.

But dairy produce is part of a healthy diet and its consumption should be promoted, he concluded.

"The present data add further to the evidence that milk and dairy products fit well into a healthy eating pattern."

Jemma Edwards, care advisor at Diabetes UK, advised against consuming large amounts of full fat dairy products in a bid to prevent type 2 diabetes and stressed the importance of a balanced diet and physical activity.

"The results of this study are interesting.

"Dairy products are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet and we would recommend people aim to eat two to three servings of low fat dairy a day."

"One portion is equivalent to a third of a pint of milk, one small pot of yogurt or a matchbox-size piece of cheese.

"Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity are vital in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes."


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