A new study shows that men who drank two to three cups of low-fat or nonfat milk each day were 20 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes during a 12-year study. Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston analyzed data from more than 41,000 male study participants – most in their 50s – with no history of diabetes, heart disease or cancer at the start of the study.

The researchers found that each per day serving increase in low fat dairy intake was associated with a 9 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes, reports Hyon K. Choi, lead researcher in a press release about the study. However, the reduction was only seen in participants who consumed low-fat or nonfat dairy products – not in those who drank whole milk. 

Although the results are encouraging, the researchers say more work is needed to confirm these results as well as see if the same response would be seen in women.

Previous studies had shown a correlation between dairy and preventing insulin resistance. However, this is the first study to show a link between low-fat dairy and a reduction in diabetes risk.

The study was reported in the May 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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