Dairy product intake in relation to glucose regulation indices and risk of type 2 diabetes

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Sep;23(9):822-8. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2012.05.011. Epub 2012 Jul 23.


Background and aim: A high intake of dairy has been linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The relationship between dairy intake and glucose metabolism is still not well understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between the intake of total dairy and dairy subgroups and T2D and measures of glucose metabolism.

Methods and results: A total of 5953 Danish men and women aged 30-60 years without baseline diabetes or cardiovascular diseases were included in this prospective analysis. The dairy intake at baseline was categorised into low-fat dairy, full-fat dairy, milk and milk products, cheese and fermented dairy. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2-h plasma glucose (2hPG), HbA1c, insulin resistance (HOMA2-IR) and beta-cell function (HOMA2-B) were considered at 5-year follow-up. In the maximally-adjusted model (demographics, lifestyle factors, dietary factors and waist), cheese intake was inversely associated with 2hPG (β = -0.048, 95% CI -0.095; -0.001). Fermented dairy intake was inversely associated with FPG (β = -0.028, 95% CI -0.048; -0.008) and HbA1c (β = -0.016, 95% CI -0.030; -0.001). Total dairy intake and the dairy subgroups were not related to HOMA-IR and HOMA-B in the maximally-adjusted model. Furthermore, there was no significant association between intake of total dairy or any of the dairy subgroups and incidence of T2D.

Conclusion: Our data suggest a modest beneficial effect of cheese and fermented dairy on glucose regulation measures; however, this did not translate into a significant association with incident T2D.

Keywords: 2-h plasma glucose; 2hPG; Beta-cell function; Blood glucose; Dairy products; FFQ; FPG; HOMA2-B; HOMA2-IR; Insulin resistance; OGTT; T2D; Type 2 diabetes; beta-cell function; fasting plasma glucose; food frequency questionnaire; insulin resistance; oral glucose tolerance test; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Dairy Products*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • White People


  • Blood Glucose