The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What is the role of dairy in managing type 2 diabetes?

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide, which is treated with regular physical exercise, a balanced diet that includes dairy, weight loss (if necessary) and medically prescribed medications.

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is considered one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. Nutrition guidelines recommend following a healthy, balanced eating plan to manage type 2 diabetes. Such an eating plan involves the optimal combination of macronutrients, specifically with regard to the intake of carbohydrates and fat. It is generally advised that a variety of protein sources should be included in such a diet, with less red meat and more nuts and low-fat dairy products.

The daily intake of dairy products, especially low-fat options, significantly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and should therefore be encouraged. Milk and dairy products are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. These nutrients help to improve insulin sensitivity, decrease fat absorption and supports weight loss. Dairy products also generally have a low glycaemic index, which means that they help to keep blood sugar levels steady. Dairy protein, specifically whey protein, is also known to increase satiety and therefore assists in appetite control. Whey protein also helps to keep blood pressure in check, as high blood pressure is a common risk factor for diabetic patients.

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