(HealthDay News) — Consuming low-fat, fermented dairy products, particularly yogurt, may help prevent diabetes, according to research published online Feb. 5 in Diabetologia.

Laura M. O’Connor, PhD, of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed diet using a prospective seven-day food diary from a nested case-cohort within the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer-Norfolk Study. The study included a random subcohort of 4,000 participants, and 892 cases of diabetes, including 143 cases in the subcohort. The researchers sought to examine the association between dairy product intake and risk of developing type 2 diabetes during 11 years of follow-up.

In analyses adjusted for age and sex, the researchers found that participants with higher intake of low-fat dairy products were less likely to develop incident diabetes (tertile [T] 3 versus T1: hazard ratio [HR], 0.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66–0.98). This effect was not found for intake of total dairy, high-fat dairy, milk, cheese, or high-fat fermented dairy products. In multivariable analysis, reduced risk of developing diabetes was found for higher intake of low-fat fermented dairy products (T3 versus T1: HR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.60–0.99), particularly yogurt (T3 versus T1: HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55–0.95).

“In this large prospective study, greater low-fat fermented dairy product intake, largely driven by yoghurt intake, was associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes,” the authors write.

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