Published On: Tue, Jul 24th, 2012

Cheese ‘beats diabetes’: Eat 2 slices a day

If you are trying to slim down, you may have  crossed cheese off the menu.

But scientists have discovered it may  actually help prevent diabetes – an illness often triggered by being  overweight.

They claim that eating just two slices of  cheese a day cuts the risk of type 2 diabetes by 12 per cent.

The findings go against current health guidelines, which advise cutting back on dairy products and other  high-fat  foods to help prevent the illness.

Around 2.5million Britons have  diabetes. Of  these, 90 per cent suffer from type 2, which is often  caused by being very  overweight.

But experts fear another million have  the  condition, which can cause heart attacks, strokes, blindness and  nerve  problems, without yet having been diagnosed.

British and Dutch researchers looked  at the  diets of 16,800 healthy adults and 12,400 patients with type 2  diabetes from  eight European countries, including the UK.

The study, published in the American  Journal  of Clinical Nutrition, found that those who ate at least 55g of  cheese a day – around two slices – were 12 per cent less likely to  develop type 2 diabetes.  The risk fell by the same amount for those who  ate 55g of yoghurt a  day.

For years NHS guidelines have advised  against eating too much dairy, cake or red meat as they are high in  saturated  fat. This is thought to increase cholesterol and raise the  risk of diabetes.

But the researchers – including  academics  from the Medical Research Council, Cambridge – say not all  saturated fats are  as harmful as others, and some may even be  beneficial.

One theory is that the so-called ‘probiotic’ bacteria in  cheese and yoghurt lower cholesterol and produce certain vitamins  which  prevent diabetes.

And cheese, milk and yoghurt are also high in  vitamin D, calcium and magnesium, which may help protect against the  condition.

Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin to control its blood sugar  levels.  Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include feeling very thirsty,  needing to pass water  frequently and constant tiredness.

Although the illness is treatable  through  methods such as dietary changes, tablets and injections, it can  cause serious  complications if not properly looked after.

But despite the latest findings,  campaigners  warned against  gorging on cheese and other dairy products  in the hope of  warding  off diabetes.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at the  charity Diabetes UK, said: ‘It is too simplistic to concentrate on individual  foods.

‘We recommend a healthy balanced diet, rich  in fruit and vegetables and low in salt and fat.

‘This study gives us no reason to believe  that people should change their dairy intake in an attempt to avoid the  condition.’

(Daily Mail)

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