Dairy foods and dairy proteins in the management of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review of the clinical evidence

Adv Nutr. 2015 May 15;6(3):245-59. doi: 10.3945/an.114.007690. Print 2015 May.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a growing public health concern affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide and costing the global economy hundreds of billions of dollars annually. This chronic disease damages the blood vessels and increases the risk of other cardiometabolic ailments such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. If left unmanaged it can also lead to nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness, and amputation. For the most part, many of these symptoms can be prevented or reduced through simple dietary modifications and proper nutrition. Therefore, identifying relatively inexpensive and easily implementable dietary modifications for the prevention and management of T2DM is of considerable value to human health and healthcare modalities around the globe. Protein-rich dairy products have consistently been shown in epidemiologic studies to be beneficial for reducing the risk of developing T2DM. The clinical evidence regarding both dairy foods and dairy proteins (i.e., casein and whey protein) have shown promise for improving insulin secretion in individuals with T2DM. However, the clinical research on dairy protein supplementation in subjects with T2DM has been limited to acute studies. These studies have been mostly descriptive and have not been focused on important T2DM endpoints such as prevention, management, or treatment. Long-term studies are clearly needed to help researchers and medical professionals better understand the effects of consistent dairy protein intake on the metabolic health of humans with T2DM.

Keywords: casein; cultured; dairy; fermented; glucose; insulin; milk; protein; type 2 diabetes; whey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Caseins / therapeutic use*
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Whey Proteins / therapeutic use*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Caseins
  • Insulin
  • Whey Proteins