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As per World Health Organization, 422 million people worldwide were diabetic in 2014 – the number having risen since then in all probability. The global prevalence of diabetes among people over 18 years of age was 8.5% in the same year. And in 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. All these facts serve not to scare you, but to tell you how widespread an evil diabetes has become in the world. And therefore, how important it is to safeguard you against it. Onset of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco and alcohol; and as is usual, our dairy can also play a crucial role in helping you with it.

Several studies have associated milk product consumption with a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In a study published in December 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers looked to test if the high fatty acid levels from a dairy rich diet were associated with a risk of diabetes. The average dairy consumption of the 3,499 participants was two servings daily, of which 45 percent was whole-fat, and 55 percent low-fat. The result? People with high dairy consumption had 44 to 52 percent lower risk of diabetes compared to those with the low dairy consumption. Yogurt consumption was also associated with an 18% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The high calcium in milk is associated with lower insulin resistance and lower prevalence of obesity and one recent study found that an increase in calcium intake in obese girls may be associated with a decrease in body fat and insulin resistance! Low fat dairy reduces risk of diabetes by increasing production of adiponectin (a hormone involved in fat & blood sugar metabolism)

Milk and other dairy foods generally have a low glycemic index (GI). GI is the scale used to measure speed and quantity of glucose level absorbed in the blood. Diabetics are recommended to eat foods with low GI. Skimmed milk and plain yoghurt are ideal low GI foods. They help to keep glucose level relatively constant.

So it can well be concluded that for both prevention and control of type 2 diabetes, dairy is a resourceful option. Here are the best ways to include it in your diet so as to draw maximum benefits from it:

  • Milk at mealtimes is always a great idea! Drinking milk at breakfast, lunch and dinnertime is certainly an effective method of squeezing in your three servings of the day in your diet.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk helps one rehydrate, is a good protein source and also maintains lean muscle. But the best part is that the amount of added sugar in chocolate milk is less than half of the quantity present in regular soda.
  • Herbs and spices like basil, turmeric, cinnamon and fenugreek added to your shakes & smoothies, teas, buttermilk and other regular foods help to control sugar fluctuations and manage diabetes.

  • Shredded cheese on salads, soups and casseroles is an effective way of adding taste to them, along with the obvious protein and calcium.
  • Yogurt as a go-to dessert is a great idea to go forward with. Flavoured yogurts are widely available now. Love fruits? Try lemon yogurt with fresh berries. Crazy for chocolate? Try yogurt dip with ½ cup plain Greek yogurt and ¼ cup Nutella.
  • For the youth, whey protein smoothie as a post-workout drink is a healthy source of protein. While the fitness freaks prefer whey powder, you may be glad to know that whey is naturally found in all dairy foods.

So include dairy in appropriate proportions in your diet and forget bothering with the consequences of diabetes. Know that diabetes is a curable disease now, with various medicines and treatments available but as they say, prevention is better than cure. Ensure your prevention with dairy!