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Fitness Investigates: Behind Milk Myths

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Does Dairy Prevent Diabetes?

Headline: Drinking Low-Fat Milk May Help Prevent Diabetes

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed data from 41,254 male participants and found that dairy consumption, particularly low-fat dairy, was associated with a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Expert Take: Milk consumption has indeed been linked to a lower incidence of diabetes, says Robert Rizza, MD, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, and president of the American Diabetes Association. But he notes that it's hard to draw concrete conclusions from studies like this because they're epidemiological, meaning that scientists examine the habits of a large group of people and spot noteworthy associations but can't isolate exactly which behaviors contributed to the preventative effect. "It's hard to remove the effects of a single food from an overall pattern of eating," explains Dr. Rizza. "People who eat low-fat dairy products tend to have healthier diets in general," he says.

What to Do: The animal fat in whole-milk products can raise disease risk, so be sure to stick to skim milk and low-fat dairy products.

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