Get special offers, recipes, health news, PLUS our FREE seafood cooking guide!
Got it, thanks! Click here for your FREE seafood cooking guide & recipes e-booklet.
Food, Health, and Eco-news
Full-Fat Dairy – Especially Yogurt – May Deter Diabetes
Whole dairy products linked to a 23% drop in the risk; Lacto-Paleo diets are on the rise 04/17/2015 By Craig Weatherby

Do diets featuring milk or milk products help to deter diabetes?

A recent evidence review found that most studies link diets rich in milk products to a reduced risk for diabetes (Astrup A 2014).
And lab studies provide several explanations as to why that might be, which is important.
We've covered some of that research, in Dairy May Deter Diabetes and Does Milk Help Deter Diabetes?.
However, rather than milk per se, most evidence suggests that fermented dairy foods like yogurt and cheese do the most to reduce diabetes risk.
The live microbial cultures found in some yogurt and cheese, and their effects on milk, may do much to explain this link (Chen M et al. 2014; Wise J 2014; Jafari T et al. 2015).
Conversely, one rat study suggested that certain saturated fats common to meats and whole-fat dairy foods may suppress satiety signals, and thereby enable overeating … see Beef-Dairy Fat May Fool Brain's Appetite Signals.
But the example of the famed "French paradox” strongly challenges the idea that moderate intakes of whole, full-fat, fermented dairy foods (e.g., cheese and plain yogurt) promote obesity.
It's been unclear whether low- or full-fat products are better … but a new Swedish study suggests that whole-fat dairy foods may confer advantages versus low-fat versions.
If so, this would undermine conventional advice to diabetics, which is to favor low- or non-fat dairy foods.
Let's take a look at a new epidemiological study – which linked whole-fat dairy foods to lower diabetes risk – and then cover a growing Lacto-Paleo diet trend.
Study links full-fat dairy foods to reduced diabetes risk
Scientists at Sweden's Lund University conducted the newly published study. 
It involved 26,930 people (61 percent women), aged 45 to 74, whose dietary habits were recorded via questionnaires.
They followed the group for 14 years, and after comparing the volunteers' diets to their health outcomes, the results linked high-fat yogurt and cheese to a reduced risk for diabetes.
According to lead investigator Ulrika Ericson, "Those who ate the most high-fat dairy products had a 23 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least.”
However, as she noted, "High meat consumption was linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes regardless of the fat content of the meat.”
Results fit with some prior research
The new findings align with previous studies linking frequent consumption of dairy foods to reduced risk of diabetes.
However, the new study pinpoints whole, full-fat dairy products as superior to low-fat versions for diabetes risk reduction.
Both meat and dairy products contain saturated fat, but certain saturated fatty acids are particularly common in dairy products.
This difference may help explain why most studies link meaty diets to higher risk for diabetes, while most link dairy-rich diets to reduced risk for diabetes.
And their analysis linked saturated fats that are slightly more common in dairy products than in meat to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. 
However, as Dr. Ericson said, "... we have not ruled out the possibility that other components of dairy products such as yogurt and cheese may have contributed to our results.”
We presume that she was referring to the live cultures (and/or their byproducts) in fermented dairy foods (cheese, yogurt, kefir), which are proven to exert strong influences on myriad aspects of metabolic and overall health.
Ericson noted that some mysteries remain and need exploration: "We have taken into account many dietary and lifestyle factors in our analysis, such as fermentation, calcium, vitamin D and physical activity."
"However", she added, "there may be other factors that we have not been able to measure that are shared by those who eat large quantities of high-fat dairy products. Moreover, different food components can interact with each other. For example, in one study, saturated fat in cheese appeared to have less of a cholesterol-raising effect than saturated fat in butter.”
She made an important point about diet: "Our results suggest that we should not focus solely on fat, but rather consider what foods we eat. Many foodstuffs contain different components that are harmful or beneficial to health, and it is the overall balance that is important.”
Dairy finds a place on some Paleo plates
Paleo diets – which copies humankind's presumed pre-agricultural diet – are all the rage.
And it's clear that the mix of foods in the prototypical Paleo diet – grass fed meats and poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, seeds, and little else – enjoys substantial scientific support.
But many are pushing back against what seem like arbitrary exclusions that lack scientific support, and/or ignore the obvious benefits of dozens of highly diverse traditional diets … eating patterns that often originated from 1,000 to several thousand years ago.
Few to no traditional diets promote the ills liked to modern, processed diets … despite featuring many foods forbidden in the prototypical Paleo diet, as described by Professor Loren Cordain and his many disciples.
The forbidden categories include dairy, legumes (beans and lentils), and whole grains. 
And Paleo diets shun vegetable oils … a rule that should only apply to cheap oils like corn, soy, safflower and sunflower, due to their high omega-6 fat content.
But the evidence supports ample enjoyment of antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil, and more modest use of macadamia nut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, flax oil, hemp oil, high-oleic sunflower oil, and other low-omega-6 oils.
We addressed some of the questions about strict Paleo diets in Is the Paleo Diet Based on Myths?, Do Grains Help or Harm Health?, and our review of the book, The Paleo Diet Manifesto, which includes our take on the prototypical Paleo diet's exclusion of dairy foods, beans, and whole grains.
Some who agree that the Paleo diet is unnecessarily – perhaps even detrimentally – restrictive are joining the Lacto-Paleo movement, which allows dairy foods.
Cow and goat milk alike seem well suited to higher-protein diets like the Paleo plan, since they beat almond, coconut or rice milk for protein: about 8 grams per cup (8 oz.) versus just one.
However, compared with unsweetened almond milk – which has no sugars and is fairly low in fat and calories – cow and goat milk have about 11 grams of sugars and three times as much fat and five times the calorie count.
Of course, that's because almond milk is mostly water. But the most popular almond milk products contain added sugars (which doubles their sugar and calorie content), salts, and gum-type thickeners … plus added calcium and vitamin D to compete with cow's milk on those scores.
So Lacto-Paleo folks do need to watch their intake of cow's milk, just to avoid getting excess calories and sugars.
Soy milk rivals cow and goat milk for protein, with one cup of unfortified soy milk containing about 7 grams of protein, 4 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of fat. 
But soy milk is very high in omega-6 fats, which Americans consume to an extreme excess that promotes inflammation.
Here's a smoothie ideal for a Lacto-Paleo breakfast or lunch:
Strawberry Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
  • 1 packet plain instant oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup whole, plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled, chopped
  • 1/4 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
  1. Combine the first five ingredients in blender.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Blend mixture until smooth and top with chopped walnuts.
  • Adolfsson O, Meydani SN, Russell RM. Yogurt and gut function. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;80(2):245-56. Review. Astrup A. Yogurt and dairy product consumption to prevent cardiometabolic diseases: epidemiologic and experimental studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5 Suppl):1235S-42S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073015. Epub 2014 Apr 2. Review.
  • Aune D, Navarro Rosenblatt DA, Chan DS, Vieira AR, Vieira R, Greenwood DC, Vatten LJ, Norat T. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jan;101(1):87-117. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.067157. Epub 2014 Nov 19.
  • Aune D, Norat T, Romundstad P, Vatten LJ. Dairy products and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Oct;98(4):1066-83. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.059030. Epub 2013 Aug 14. Review.
  • Chen M, Sun Q, Giovannucci E, Mozaffarian D, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2014 Nov 25;12:215. doi: 10.1186/s12916-014-0215-1
  • Chen M, Sun Q, Giovannucci E, Mozaffarian D, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2014 Nov 25;12:215. doi: 10.1186/s12916-014-0215-1.
  • Choi HK, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Rimm E, Hu FB. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in men: a prospective study. Arch Intern Med. 2005 May 9;165(9):997-1003.
  • Díaz-López A, Bulló M, Martínez-González MA, Corella D, Estruch R, Fitó M, Gómez-Gracia E, Fiol M, García de la Corte FJ, Ros E, Babio N, Serra-Majem L, Pintó X, Muñoz MÁ, Francés F, Buil-Cosiales P, Salas-Salvadó J. Dairy product consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in an elderly Spanish Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk. Eur J Nutr. 2015 Feb 7. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Ericson U, Hellstrand S, Brunkwall L, Schulz CA, Sonestedt E, Wallström P, Gullberg B, Wirfält E, Orho-Melander M. Food sources of fat may clarify the inconsistent role of dietary fat intake for incidence of type 2 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Apr 1. pii: ajcn103010. [Epub ahead of print] European Association for the Study of Diabetes 2014 meeting, Sept. 16, 2014.
  • Furukawa S, Fujita T, Shimabukuro M, Iwaki M, Yamada Y, Nakajima Y, Nakayama O, Makishima M, Matsuda M, Shimomura I. Increased oxidative stress in obesity and its impact on metabolic syndrome. J Clin Invest. 2004 Dec;114(12):1752-61.
  • Jafari T, Faghihimani E, Feizi A, Iraj B, Javanmard SH, Esmaillzadeh A, Fallah AA, Askari G. Effects of vitamin D-fortified low fat yogurt on glycemic status, anthropometric indexes, inflammation, and bone turnover in diabetic postmenopausal women: A randomised controlled clinical trial. Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar 5. pii: S0261-5614(15)00072-2. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.02.014. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Liu S, Choi HK, Ford E, Song Y, Klevak A, Buring JE, Manson JE. A prospective study of dairy intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2006 Jul;29(7):1579-84.
  • Louie JC, Flood VM, Rangan AM, Burlutsky G, Gill TP, Gopinath B, Mitchell P. Higher regular fat dairy consumption is associated with lower incidence of metabolic syndrome but not type 2 diabetes. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Sep;23(9):816-21. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Sep 27.
  • Malik VS, Sun Q, van Dam RM, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Rosner B, Hu FB. Adolescent dairy product consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):854-61. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009621. Epub 2011 Jul 13.
  • Marette A, Picard-Deland E. Yogurt consumption and impact on health: focus on children and cardiometabolic risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5 Suppl):1243S-7S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073379. Epub 2014 Mar 19. Review.
  • Mozaffarian D, Cao H, King IB, Lemaitre RN, Song X, Siscovick DS, Hotamisligil GS. Trans-palmitoleic Acid, metabolic risk factors, and new-onset diabetes in U.S. Adults: a cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Dec 21;153(12):790-9
  • Musso G, Gambino R, Cassader M. Obesity, diabetes, and gut microbiota: the hygiene hypothesis expanded? Diabetes Care. 2010 Oct;33(10):2277-84. doi: 10.2337/dc10-0556. Review.
  • O'Connor LM, Lentjes MA, Luben RN, Khaw KT, Wareham NJ, Forouhi NG. Dietary dairy product intake and incident type 2 diabetes: a prospective study using dietary data from a 7-day food diary. Diabetologia. 2014 May;57(5):909-17. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3176-1. Epub 2014 Feb 8.
  • Pei R, Martin DA, DiMarco DM, Bolling BW. Evidence for the Effects of Yogurt on Gut Health and Obesity. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2015 Apr 15:0. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Roberfroid M, Gibson GR, Hoyles L, McCartney AL, Rastall R, Rowland I, Wolvers D, Watzl B, Szajewska H, Stahl B, Guarner F, Respondek F, Whelan K, Coxam V, Davicco MJ, Léotoing L, Wittrant Y, Delzenne NM, Cani PD, Neyrinck AM, Meheust A. Prebiotic effects: metabolic and health benefits. Br J Nutr. 2010 Aug;104 Suppl 2:S1-63. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510003363. Review.
  • Shab-Bidar S, Neyestani TR, Djazayery A, Eshraghian MR, Houshiarrad A, Gharavi A, Kalayi A, Shariatzadeh N, Zahedirad M, Khalaji N, Haidari H. Regular consumption of vitamin D-fortified yogurt drink (Doogh) improved endothelial biomarkers in subjects with type 2 diabetes: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. BMC Med. 2011 Nov 24;9:125. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-9-125.
  • Sluijs I et al. The amount and type of dairy product intake and incident type 2 diabetes: results from the EPIC-InterAct Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;96(2):382-90. Epub 2012 Jul 3.
  • Stancliffe RA, Thorpe T, Zemel MB. Dairy attentuates oxidative and inflammatory stress in metabolic syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;94(2):422-30. Epub 2011 Jun 29.
  • Struijk EA, Heraclides A, Witte DR, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Geleijnse JM, Toft U, Lau CJ. Dairy product intake in relation to glucose regulation indices and risk of type 2 diabetes. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Sep;23(9):822-8. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.05.011. Epub 2012 Jul 23.
  • Tremblay A, Gilbert JA. Milk products, insulin resistance syndrome and type 2 diabetes.J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Feb;28 Suppl 1:91S-102S. Review. Tunick MH, Van Hekken DL. Dairy Products and Health: Recent Insights. J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Nov 19. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Wise J. Eating a yoghurt a day is linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes. BMJ. 2014 Nov 24;349:g7081. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7081.
  • Zemel MB, Sun X. Dietary calcium and dairy products modulate oxidative and inflammatory stress in mice and humans. J Nutr. 2008 Jun;138(6):1047-52.
I would not buy my fish from anywhere but Vital Choice…I’m so happy to have a source for great tasting, healthy fish.
quote-icon is my favorite source for wild Alaskan salmon, sablefish, sardines, and other fish rich in omega-3s... I can't tell you how many messages I get from people thanking me for recommending Vital Choice.
Simply put Vital Choice offers the best seafood and related products available. We have always recommended Vital Choice to clients, friends, and family. As health practitioners we value the sustainable practices and trust this company implicitly!

quote-icon We’ve done the work for you to find the healthiest meat products on the market. quote-icon

Unlike anything you've seen from the grocery store…I recommend Vital Choice—my personal favorite for delicious, fresh, healthy, and completely safe canned tuna and salmon.
Vital Box captures the fresh-caught quality of succulent, sustainably harvested Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood by cleaning and flash-freezing it within hours of harvest.
I love the stellar quality of Vital Choice salmon! I've been recommending Vital Choice Seafood for many years now.
Vital choice has never disappointed. Love every item I get... since eating your food, my hair, skin, and energy revitalized from clean fish and meats… it’s ALL great. Never a problem with the food arriving in great condition.

quote-icon The Best Places To Buy Seafood Online, Including Fresh And Frozen Fish quote-icon 

Find out what others are saying about Vital Choice Ad