Good News for Dairy Lovers

A recent report, abstract here, finds high fat dairy reducing the incidence of Adult Onset Diabetes by a whopping 65%.

The report is a bombshell because of its structure. Rather than the usual epidemiological study, which examines who ate what versus who got what, this one identifies a baseline cohort, follows their diet, and then sees what diseases they did or did not get.

Why is this a big deal?

The first type of study doesn’t prove cause, only association. For years, red meat has been the boogeyman. More red meat, more disease. So all sorts of policy and medical recommendations evolved around this association. But was red meat causing all this misery? Almost certainly not. More detailed analysis showed that clean red meat was beneficial, but factory produced items, conveniently lumped in as red meat, were the primary culprit. The red mead thing was guilt by association. This is not proof. As any doctor will tell you (especially when they don’t like the results) association is not causation.

However, in this study, causation is effectively established. How? First, they identify two cohorts. The first group of 925 people was pre-diabetic. A second healthier group of 1867 people that was neither pre-diabetic nor diabetic was also identified. The dairy diet of these two groups was followed for 12 years, at which time health was reassessed. In this case, we can establish cause. If, for instance, people consuming the most butter, a very popular saturated fat, got sick, butter would clearly be a cause.

OK, so what happened?

Well, the sub-header gives it away, of course. There are many results in the abstract. The two strongest are the effects of high-fat dairy, (whole milk, whole yogurt, etc.) on the risk of transitioning from pre-diabetes to the full-blown version. The high-fat consumers had a 70% lower risk of contracting adult onset diabetes, than those who consumed the least. . This is a HUGE result. Put another way, the folks who took the least whole-dairy products had a three-fold higher chance of getting adult onset diabetes than those who partook the most. This is Full Medical Heresy. Likewise, cheese lovers had a 63% lower incidence of adult onset diabetes than cheese abstainers.


Yep. Here is the American Diabetes Association official recommendation:

Healthy eating includes eating a wide variety of foods including:

  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • fruits
  • low fat or fat free dairy products ß——-
  • beans/legumes
  • lean meats
  • poultry
  • fish

Is this just American? No, here, from the British National Health Service:

Choose lower-fat milk

Semi-skimmed, 1% fat and skimmed milks contain all the important nutritional benefits of milk, but are lower in fat. Of these options, skimmed milk is the lowest in fat. 

Are we due for a revision?

In our opinion, we are long overdue. Will there be one? Don’t hold your breath. There would be way too much egg (egg is also very good for you) on way too many faces.

The rest of the report…

For the risk of transitioning from healthy to pre-diabetes:

Cheese, cream cheese, and butter were neutral and can therefore be enjoyed guilt-free.

Total milk, low-fat, skim, whole milk, and yogurt exhibit a “J” shaped curve: moderate consumption reduced risk compared to low or high consumption.

So, in conclusion, except for low-fat and skim product, dairy is quite good for you.

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