You may be surprised to hear that researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that consuming high-fat dairy offers significant protection against developing a number of metabolic problems, including the onset of type 2 diabetes.
What's more, in their study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that people with a fatty acid known as trans-palmitoleate (which rises in direct proportion to the amount of high-fat dairy products you eat) in their blood had an impressive three-fold less likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
Read on for the full story, which turns the dogma about eating a low-fat diet on its head!
Researchers find a link between a specific fatty acid in the blood and lower risk of metabolic problems
To reach their findings, the researchers followed 3,736 participants who were enrolled in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute-funded Cardiovascular Health Study who’d been followed for 20 years in an observational study to evaluate the risk factors for cardiovascular disease in older adults.
In 1992, blood samples, including samples of fatty acid content present in the blood, were collected. At baseline, the researchers found a link between higher circulating levels of trans-palmitoleic acid and healthier levels of blood cholesterol, insulin levels, insulin sensitivity and inflammatory markers.
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Study concludes that consuming high-fat dairy lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
During the follow-up period of the study, the researchers found that participants with higher circulating levels of trans-palmitoleic acid had a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
. Those in the highest quintile of trans-palmitoleic acid levels had a 60% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with those in the lowest quintile.
“This represents an almost three-fold difference in risk of developing diabetes among individuals with the highest blood levels of this fatty acid,” said Mozaffarian, lead author of the study. “This is an extremely strong protective effect, stronger than other things we know can be beneficial against diabetes.”
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