The incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) has increased in the US over the last several years. The consumption of low-fat dairy foods has been linked with decreasing the risk of DM but studies have yet to show a clear correlation. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the effects of dairy intake on homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), waist circumference, and body weight. In MEDLINE and Embase, we identified and reviewed 49 relevant RCTs: 30 had appropriate data format for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Using the Review Manager 5 software, we calculated the pooled standardized mean differences comparing dairy dietary interventions to control for our outcomes of interest. For HOMA-IR (794 individuals), we found a mean difference of -1.21 (95% CI -1.74 to -0.67; p-value < 0.00001; I2 = 92%). For waist circumference (1348 individuals), the mean difference was -1.09 cm (95% CI 1.68 to -0.58; p-value < 0.00001; I2 = 94%). For body weight (2362 individuals), the dairy intake intervention group weighed 0.42 kg less than control (p-value < 0.00001; I2 = 92%). Our findings suggest that dairy intake, especially low-fat dairy products, has a beneficial effect on HOMA-IR, waist circumference, and body weight. This could impact dietary recommendations to reduce DM risk.
Keywords: dairy intake; diet; insulin resistance; low-fat dairy; waist circumference; weight loss.