Milk shown to reduce type 2 diabetes risk

Moms are always telling their children to drink milk if they want to grow up to be healthy and strong. Now, new research suggests that this advice may also apply to avoiding type 2 diabetes later life.

Researchers reported in a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that girls who grow up drinking milk are much more likely to be milk drinkers as adults. This helped individuals reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 43 percent, compared to those who did not drink milk.

A team of scientists from Harvard University tracked the health of 37,000 teenage girls through adulthood. The team said that when the individuals used milk as a source of protein in their diets, they were less likely to gain weight and were at a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The findings could change the way people view milk's effects on weight gain and type 2 diabetes risk. Many people stopped drinking the beverage or reduced their intake in recent years as word started to spread that it is high in fat. Naturally, people assumed that drinking too much milk could contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of associated diseases.

However, the new study suggests the drink could play an important role in a healthy diet. When a person drinks milk in addition to many other high-fat foods, they are likely to gain weight, but when they use milk to replace other fattier sources of protein like red meat, they may experience metabolic benefits.

Given the rising rates of type 2 diabetes, it may be helpful for individuals to understand what foods may help them avoid the condition. Thanks to the new findings, milk may be a surprising addition to the list.