Drinking milk with your breakfast every day could make you less likely to be obese or diabetic, a study has found.
A 250ml glass of cow’s milk or having it on your cereal in the morning could lower blood sugar throughout the day, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
It is thought to be the protein in the milk which causes this effect by releasing hormones which slow down digestion, and also making people less hungry later on.
The scientist leading the study, Professor Douglas Goff from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, says drinking milk could keep diabetes and obesity at bay.
He said: ‘This study confirms the importance of milk at breakfast time to aid in the slower digestion of carbohydrate and to help maintain lower blood sugar levels.
‘Nutritionists have always stressed the importance of a healthy breakfast, and this study should encourage consumers to include milk.’
The Canadian researchers say the discovery is important because type 2 diabetes and obesity are ‘leading concerns’ in human health.
Milk contains two types of protein – whey and casein – which both make people feel fuller for longer than water does. Whey makes people feel full quicker whereas casein has a longer lasting effect
Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario did a study of 32 people studied the effects of drinking 250ml of milk with breakfast.
Participants did not eat beforehand and were given either high-protein milk, milk with a normal level of protein, or water made to seem like milk.
They had this alongside oaty cereals and their blood glucose levels were then measured throughout the day.
The study found milk reduces blood sugar after eating – more so than drinking water – and the more protein in the milk the more it reduced the sugar level.
This could help to combat type 2 diabetes because the condition is caused and worsened by uncontrollable levels of sugar in the blood.
The protein in milk makes people feel full, reducing their appetite
Milk contains two types of protein – whey and casein – and scientists changed the ratios in different tests to examine the effects of the different types.
They found digestion of whey protein makes people feel fuller more quickly, whereas casein protein provides a longer lasting effect.
FATS IN DAIRY DO NOT INCREASE THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE
Saturated fats found in yoghurt, cheese, butter and milk do not increase the risk of heart disease, research by the University of Texas suggested in July.
Eating full-fat dairy actually reduces the risk of dying from stroke by 42 percent, the study found.
Lead author Dr Marcia Otto said: ‘Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults.
‘In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.’
Dietary guidelines in the US and UK recommend people people opt for low or no-fat dairy, however, the researchers warn such options are often high in sugar, which can drive heart disease.
Milk, yoghurt and cheese contain nutrients such as calcium, which lowers blood pressure, as well as anti-inflammatory fatty acids.
Milk containing more protein has even stronger effects, the research suggests, further reducing blood sugar levels and making people feel fuller for longer.
Drinking the milk with a breakfast high in carbohydrates also increases these impacts on blood sugar and appetite.
‘Type 2 diabetes and obesity are leading concerns in human health’
Researchers suggest this could be used as a method of controlling people’s eating and potentially preventing them from becoming obese.
Lead researcher Professor Douglas Goff said: ‘Metabolic diseases are on the rise globally, with type 2 diabetes and obesity as leading concerns in human health.
‘Thus, there is [motivation] to develop dietary strategies for the risk reduction and management of obesity and diabetes to empower consumers to improve their personal health.’
The team saw if the amount of protein increases it leaves people feeling fuller for longer.
Although the study found milk only made a small difference to how much people ate for lunch, they did find that milk consumed with a high-carbohydrate breakfast reduced blood glucose even after lunch, and high-protein milk had a greater effect.
The results were published in the Journal of Dairy Science.