Milk-drinking teens reap health benefits through adulthood: study

September 14, 2011

Developing healthy habits like drinking milk as a teen could have a long-term effect on a woman's risk for type 2 diabetes, according to new research in this month's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1). Researchers found that milk-drinking teens, were also likely to be milk-drinking adults – a lifelong habit that was associated with a 43 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes compared to non-milk drinkers. Diabetes affects more than 25.8 million people, or nearly 1 out of 10 Americans.

The Harvard University study studied teenage and adult food intake patterns (including milk and milk products) and health risk in more than 37,000 women. Researchers found the women who drank the most milk as adults and consumed the most milk products in their teen years (about 4 servings per day) had a lower risk of type 2 than those who consistently had a low dairy intake (about 1 serving per day during the teen years). The milk-drinking teens were also more likely to maintain their dairy habit through adulthood and gained less weight over time – nearly 4 pounds less than milk-skippers. Weight gain is another important risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

A second large Harvard study reinforced the lifelong benefits of milk – particularly as a protein source. Studying more than 440,000 adults, researchers found that swapping lowfat dairy for meat as a protein source, could reduce risk for by 17%. (2)

Each glass of fat free milk provides 8 grams of high-quality protein, along with eight other essential nutrients Americans need, including calcium and vitamin D for just 80 calories. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of fat free or lowfat milk each day.

More information: 1. Malik V, Sun Q, van Dam R, Rimm E, Willett W, Rosner B, Hu F. Adolescent dairy product consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011: 94;854-61.

2. Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein A, Schulze M, Manson J, Willett W, Hu F. Red meat consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011; 94:1-9.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Young adults found displaying symptoms of net addiction

October 17, 2014

In 2012, Allen Frances, MD, professor emeritus and former chair of the department of psychiatry at Duke University, cautioned that "Internet Addiction" could be the next new fad diagnosis, complete with "an exuberant trumpeting ...

Can 'love hormone' oxytocin protect against addiction?

March 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the University of Adelaide say addictive behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse could be associated with poor development of the so-called "love hormone" system in our bodies during early ...

Nicotine vaccine prevents nicotine from reaching the brain

May 2, 2012

If smoking a cigarette no longer delivers pleasure, will smokers quit? It's the idea behind a nicotine vaccine being created by MIT and Harvard researchers, in which an injection of synthetic nanoparticles prompts the immune ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

pres68y
not rated yet Sep 15, 2011
When that research was funded by the dairy industry what other conclusion would you expect?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.