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Milk May Help Keep Diabetes Away

Study: 2 to 3 Cups of Low-Fat Dairy Lowers Diabetes Risk by 20%

More Servings, Lower Risk continued...

And though only men were included in the study, Hu says there is no reason to believe that the findings would not apply to women. The study is published in the May 9 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

In an editorial accompanying the study, nutrition researcher Janet C. King, PhD, of the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute wrote that the role of dairy foods in health remains complex and may vary from person to person.

Studies show that drinking milk helps people lose weightdrinking milk helps people lose weight and protects against high blood pressure, heart disease, gout, and colorectal cancer.

But eating dairy foods has also been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Several studies have also implicated cow's milk in the development of type 1 diabetes among genetically susceptible children, although this link has not been confirmed.

King says the evidence regarding dairy and weight loss is far from conclusive. She points out that the National Dairy Council's massive ad campaign promoting milk as a weight loss food is based on just two studies with fewer than 50 participants.

But Dairy Council spokesman Greg Miller, PhD, tells WebMD that a third trial supporting the link between dairy and weight loss was recently published in Europe, and several other clinical trials have been completed but have not yet been published.

Miller points out that that the government's dietary guidelinesgovernment's dietary guidelines were recently changed to recommend that adults eat three servings of nonfat or low-fat dairy products a day instead of two. Although the government advisory committee noted that there was not enough evidence to prove that dairy foods help people lose weight, they did conclude that milk and milk-based products do not contribute to weight gain.

"That is a very important message, especially for young girls who might cut dairy out of their diets because of concerns about weight and body image," says Miller. "The best science we have supports the role of dairy foods in healthy diets.

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