It's one thing to shrink your risk of type 2 diabetes theoretically by drinking TOO MUCH coffee. It's entirely another to reduce them by doing something completely counter-intuitive to modern dietary strategies, however, like consuming whole-fat milk, cheeses and other dairy products.
Just like the health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), we will be hearing and learning much more in the coming years about trans-palmitoleic acid, thanks to a recent study that tracked the health of more than 3,700 seniors (older than age 64) participating in the Cardiovascular Health Study for two decades.
Patients who had higher levels of trans-palmitoleic fatty acids at the get-go generally had healthier insulin levels and sensitivity, cholesterol numbers and inflammatory markers. During follow-up reviews, patients who maintained those high levels of trans-palmitoleic acids reduced their diabetes risks by some 60 percent.
Here's the trick: Your body naturally has circulating palmitoleic acid, but you can also get it from outside sources -- then it's called trans-palmitoleic acid -- like whole milk. Lead researcher Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian told HealthDay News, the amount of trans-palmitoleic acid is proportional to the dairy fat in whole-fat dairy foods. Also, the amount of trans-palmitoleic acid necessary to confer such benefits varies depending on the dairy product, so the number of servings one would need is hard to pinpoint too.
Before you head to the grocery store to stock up on whole-fat dairy products, however, medical experts warn it's way too early to adjust dietary recommendations. As we've pointed out here before, science is just coming around to the notion that our bodies are very much like living, breathing, walking and talking chemistry experiments.
Give this some time for other researchers to weigh in. Don't worry, we'll keep you posted…
Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 153, No. 12, p. 790-799, December 21, 2010
insciences.org December 21, 2010
healthfinder.gov December 20, 2010
CNN/The Chart December 20, 2010