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Dairy: do or don't? (Quick Studies).

Overweight young adults (aged 18 to 30) who reported eating dairy products at least 16 times a week were half as likely to develop insulin resistance syndrome (also known as Syndrome X or the metabolic syndrome) over the next ten years than those who ate dairy less than ten times a week, according to a study at Harvard Medical School.

People who ate dairy at least 35 times a week had an even lower risk. Dairy had no impact on insulin resistance syndrome in leaner people. (Milk and, to a lesser extent, cheese, cream, and butter accounted for 90 percent of the dairy the people in the study consumed.) Fiber seemed to lower the risk of insulin resistance independently of dairy.

Insulin resistance syndrome raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes. According to the researchers, participants had insulin resistance syndrome if they had at least two of the following signs: obesity, high blood pressure, high insulin or blood sugar, and high triglycerides or low HDL ("good") cholesterol.

What to do: Stay lean (or lose excess weight) and stay active (even if you don't lose weight). If you're overweight, it's worth upping your dairy and fiber intake, as long as you stick with low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. But it's too early to say--based on one study--that dairy can make a difference.

J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 287: 2081, 2002.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Center for Science in the Public Interest
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Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Previous Article:Whole gains. (Quick Studies).
Next Article:Trans fat: still under cover. (Special Feature).

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