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Get on Track with Better Living

Find information, tips, and resources on managing your diabetes

Live a healthier, fuller life by learning more about the types of diabetes, potential complications, and ways to receive insurance coverage.

Studies Show Milk May Reduce Diabetes Risk

For some people, milk is their go-to beverage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What they may not know is that their love of milk may also decrease their risk for diabetes.

According to a 2005 study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard's School of Public Health, drinking 2-3 cups of nonfat or low-fat milk every day could reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 20%. Another 2011 Harvard study revealed that drinking milk as a teenager can reduce your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes as an adult. This is critical for parents with children who are facing prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. With childhood obesity being a national epidemic, milk could be a delicious preventative measure against more severe conditions.

The best type of milk for diabetics is nonfat or low-fat milk. Nutritionists recommend abstaining from whole and 2% milk because of their higher fat content. If you are lactose intolerant, soy and goat milk are healthier alternatives.

Drinking milk is a good start towards preventing diabetes because it is rich in lactose, calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Unlike sugars found in sodas and juice cocktails, the sugar content in milk metabolizes more slowly, meaning your blood sugar levels will not increase as dramatically. Some scientists believe that calcium and vitamin D may affect the body's ability to make and use insulin, but they are still unsure as to how. Protein is another viable nutrient found in milk for anyone at risk for Type 2 diabetes because it promotes weight loss by making you feel fuller longer. This provides evidence that milk for diabetics may be good after all.

In addition to possessing anti-diabetic properties, studies have shown that drinking nonfat or low-fat milk protects against hypertension and can prevent heart disease. For women, a diet high in calcium may reduce your risk of breast cancer by 40%. Calcium is also important in maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis.

However, most people do not receive the recommended 3-5 daily servings of dairy needed to sustain long-term health. Fortunately, there are several ways to incorporate milk and dairy products into your diet:

  • Add nonfat, low-fat, or soy milk to your cereal or oatmeal
  • Have nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt for a snack
  • Use low-fat cheese in your sandwich or on your salad
  • Drink a glass of nonfat or low-fat milk before bed
  • Take calcium supplements

Despite the sugar content in milk, drinking more of it and eating more dairy products can significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is an important discovery for those battling obesity and other risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes. Talk with your doctor to learn more about how milk for diabetics may be beneficial.