Prevent High Blood Sugar with This Creamy Food

Medically reviewed in August 2021

Low-fat yogurt is a smart move for your waistline. But research suggests that the occasional indulgence in whole-milk yogurt could carry some benefits, too.

In a 20-year study, people with the highest blood levels of trans-palmitoleic acid—a type of fatty acid found in full-fat dairy products—were 60% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

A Good Trans Fat?
It's way too early to recommend that anyone turn to full-fat dairy as a dietary mainstay. But the research on trans-palmitoleic acid is interesting enough to take some of the guilt out of the sporadic indulgence, like whole-milk yogurt. Trans-palmitoleic acid is found in full-fat diary, and, although it's technically a trans fat, researchers think it behaves quite differently from the kind found in processed foods.

These dairy-based trans-palmitoleic acids have not been linked to increased heart risks at all. In fact, in one study, people with higher blood levels of these fatty acids generally had better insulin sensitivity and lower levels of C-reactive protein—an inflammatory marker linked to metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Don't Have a Total Cow
Several other studies have linked dairy consumption to a lower risk of diabetes. And there could be other things in yogurt, cheese, and milk that make blood sugar happy, too. Still, this early research is no reason to go whole hog on full-fat dairy. But you can feel less guilty about the occasional treat, such as whole-milk yogurt (yummy!). Just be sure to compensate for the extra calories by cutting back on other fatty foods in your diet—especially if you need to lose weight.

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