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Cheese may reduce risk for developing type 2 diabetes: study

Delicious cheese may reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, says new research. (Thinkstock)Those who consciously watch their fat intake may avidly avoid of cheese. But a new study suggests that perhaps a little bit of cheese in a person's life can be a good thing, and even help lower a person's risk of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from Britain and the Netherlands surveyed more than 16,000 healthy adults and 12,000 patients with type 2 diabetes right across Europe, reports the Daily Mail. Their findings?

"The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those who ate at least 55g of cheese a day — around two slices — were 12 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The risk fell by the same amount for those who ate 55g of yoghurt a day," says the Daily Mail.

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The study findings make sense to Tzabia Siegel, The Food Coach, and a nutritionist at the Toronto Athletic Club Sport Medicine Clinic. Blood sugar regulation is, in part, minimized by having fat, she says.

"Whenever you eat fat, you're going to slow down the uptake of sugar," says Siegel. "So that in itself plays a role."

But Siegel says that not all cheeses are created equal. Some are higher in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, both of which are necessary to a healthy diet.

"If the cheese is from free-grazing, pasture-raised cattle, then you're going to have a higher concentration of the omega 3 and omega 6 fats that come from the grass," she says. "Pasture-raised cheeses are going to have a healthier fat profile."

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And while it is necessary to include saturated fats in our diet, Siegel cautions against going wild eating too much cheese.

"Anything that's in the animal fat category, you have to be moderate with. Although we do need saturated fat — and some saturated fat is going to be better than others, for example coconut oil, which is a plant-based oil — you have to be moderate," she says.

"You want to balance your saturated fat with really crucial omega 3s which we don't have a lot of sources in our diet. The only sources for the omega 3s are fatty fish, flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed, so there are only a few."

Statistics Canada says that in 2011, 1,793,352 people over the age of 12 were living with diabetes, which was down slightly from 2010 when the number was 1,841,527.

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