Science continues to demonstrate that fat has not earned its bad reputation. Researchers have recently discovered that whole fat dairy products contain a fatty acid that could be beneficial for those at risk of type 2 diabetes. One study shows that individuals with high blood levels of trans-palmitoleic acid have a 62 percent lower chance of developing diabetes than individuals with the lowest levels of the same fatty acid. The study was conducted on 3,700 individuals, who were over the age of sixty-five at the time.
Circulating palmitoleic acid occurs naturally in the body, and it may help control cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as lower insulin resistance. This fatty acid is also found in food sources, where it is called trans-palmitoleic acid, and is particularly prevalent in whole fat dairy products (keep in mind raw organic certified dairy is best). While it is too early to determine what amount of whole fat dairy products are necessary to be beneficial, it is believed that dairy can be a healthy addition to meals for those who need to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes.
In addition to decreasing insulin resistance, trans-palmitoleic has been associated with lower body mass index and smaller waist circumference. Both of these results are factors in improving heart health in addition to insulin sensitivity.
Findings from this single study may not be strong enough, however, for individuals to change their diets just yet. Data collected was based on self-reports by the participants in the study. Therefore more information is needed to verify the results and to bolster the theory that whole fat dairy products will benefit those at risk for type 2 diabetes. Further studies are underway to determine the degree to which dairy products can assist in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.
In the meantime, other foods that are known to lower the risk of developing diabetes should be included in the diet. These are various types of nuts–about half an ounce per day is plenty–and green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
It is important to note that raw organic certified dairy products will contain a different (and much healthier) fatty acid profile compared to milk from commercial dairy lots. This study did not take this into consideration, but it is an important factor nonetheless.
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: