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Can a pint of milk a day keep the doctor away?

Consuming a pint of milk a day or eating yogurt could help to prevent conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, suggests research published today by Cardiff University.

2,375 men aged between 45 and 59 without diabetes took part in the study which ran over a 20-year period as part of the Caerphilly Prospective Study. 15 per cent had metabolic syndrome, or insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome is defined as having excess weight around the abdomen, high cholesterol and high levels of glucose in the blood. It has been highlighted as a risk factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

The study found that men who drank a pint of milk or more a day were 62 per cent less likely to have metabolic syndrome than those who said they drank and ate little or none. Those who regularly ate other dairy foods were 56 per cent less likely to develop the condition. The researchers concluded that the more dairy a man consumes, the less likely he is to develop metabolic syndrome.

However, Jemma Edwards, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK, advised against consuming large amounts of full fat dairy products in a bid to prevent Type 2 diabetes and stressed the importance of a balanced diet and physical activity instead:

"“The results of this study are interesting. Dairy products are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet and we would recommend people aim to eat two to three servings of low fat dairy a day.

"One portion is equivalent to a third of a pint of milk, one small pot of yogurt or a matchbox-size piece of cheese. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity are vital in reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

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