Researchers at the University at Buffalo and University at Manitoba have found that a diet rich in low-fat dairy products decreased insulin resistance in a study of healthy adults.
"Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin, but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes," wrote the Department of Health and Human Services.
The study had 23 participants between the ages of 18 and 75 who were considered "healthy" based on a pre-study screening.
These individuals were divided into two groups: a high-dairy group, which consumed four servings of low-fat dairy products per day, and a low-dairy group, which consumed no more than two servings of low-fat dairy products per day.
The study continued for six months. Each month, the high-dairy group and the low-dairy group switched treatments. As such, participants originally in the high-dairy group ate only two servings of low-fat dairy, and the participants initially in the low-dairy group ate four servings.
Throughout the study, researchers monitored the participants’ metabolic responses.
The results showed that, during months in which subjects were in the high-dairy group, their plasma insulin levels dropped an average of 9 percent and their insulin resistance dropped 11 percent when compared to their plasma insulin levels and insulin resistance during the months in which they were in the low-dairy group.
Insulin-resistance syndrome, better known as metabolic syndrome, affects 25 percent of Americans. A lower insulin resistance decreases the risk of metabolic syndrome, which, as a result, lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
Dairy products have also been shown to prevent kidney stones, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.