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Could eating cheese reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?

Behind the headlines

They say

In July 2012 stories by the Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Daily Telegraph all claimed that eating cheese could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So, is there any truth to these claims?

Diabetes UK says

The stories were based on the results from a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which aimed to find out whether eating a diet high in dairy products is associated with a change in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Overall, the study found no link between total dairy product consumption and diabetes risk, but the results did suggest that people who ate a lot of cheese and other products such as yogurt and buttermilk may have a lower risk of developing the condition.

However, there is no significant link between eating more of one particular dairy product and a reduced risk of type 2.

Also, the European-wide study found the difference in risk varied between countries – people in the UK who ate more cheese were at increased risk, while people in France were at a reduced risk.

While the study was well designed, the possible preventative effects could be down to luck, not cheese.

Diabetes UK's Director of Research said, "It is too simplistic to concentrate on individual foods and this study gives us no reason to believe that people should change their dairy intake in an attempt to avoid diabetes. We recommend a healthy balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables and low in salt and fat."

You can read a more detailed analysis by NHS Choices on their website.

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