Background: Diet and lifestyle modifications can substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. While a strong inverse association has been reported between dairy consumption and the insulin resistance syndrome among young obese adults, the relation between dairy intake and type 2 diabetes is unknown.
Methods: We prospectively examined the relation between dairy intake and incident cases of type 2 diabetes in 41,254 male participants with no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer at baseline in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
Results: During 12 years of follow-up, we documented 1243 incident cases of type 2 diabetes. Dairy intake was associated with a modestly lower risk of type 2 diabetes. After adjusting for potential confounders, including body mass index, physical activity, and dietary factors, the relative risk for type 2 diabetes in men in the top quintile of dairy intake was 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62-0.95; P for trend, .003) compared with those in the lowest quintile. Each serving-per-day increase in total dairy intake was associated with a 9% lower risk for type 2 diabetes (multivariate relative risk, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85-0.97). The corresponding relative risk was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.81-0.94) for low-fat dairy intake and 0.99 (95% CI, 0.91-1.07) for high-fat dairy intake. The association did not vary significantly according to body mass index (< 25 vs > or = 25 kg/m(2); P for interaction, .57).
Conclusion: Dietary patterns characterized by higher dairy intake, especially low-fat dairy intake, may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in men.