Cheese ‘beats diabetes’: Just two slices a day could reduce risk of developing the disease, study claims
Researchers said fermentation of cheese could trigger some kind of reaction that protects against diabetes
If you are trying to slim down, you may have crossed cheese off the menu.
But scientists have discovered it may actually help prevent diabetes – an illness often triggered by being overweight.
They claim that eating just two slices of cheese a day cuts the risk of type 2 diabetes by 12 per cent. The same is true for those eating 55g of yogurt per day.
Researchers hypothesised that fermentation of cheese and yogurt could trigger a reaction that protects against diabetes
The findings go against current health guidelines, which advise cutting back on dairy products and other high-fat foods to help prevent the illness.
Total prevalence of diabetes
- Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
- Percentage: 8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
- Diagnosed: 18.8 million people
- Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people
- Pre-diabetes: 79 million people*
- New Cases: 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.
Of these, 90 per cent suffer from type 2, which is often caused by being very overweight.
But experts fear another million have the condition, which can cause heart attacks, strokes, blindness and nerve problems, without yet having been diagnosed.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those who ate at least 55g of cheese a day – around two slices – were 12 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The risk fell by the same amount for those who ate 55g of yogurt a day.
For years NHS guidelines have advised against eating too much dairy, cake or red meat as they are high in saturated fat. This is thought to increase cholesterol and raise the risk of diabetes.
But the researchers – including academics from the Medical Research Council, Cambridge – say not all saturated fats are as harmful as others, and some may even be beneficial.
One theory is that the so-called ‘probiotic’ bacteria in cheese and yogurt lower cholesterol and produce certain vitamins which prevent diabetes.
And cheese, milk and yoghurt are also high in vitamin D, calcium and magnesium, which may help protect against the condition.
Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin to control its blood sugar levels. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include feeling very thirsty, needing to pass water frequently and constant tiredness.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos,Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.
In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.
Although the illness is treatable through methods such as dietary changes, tablets and injections, it can cause serious complications if not properly looked after.
But despite the latest findings, campaigners warned against gorging on cheese and other dairy products in the hope of warding off diabetes.