Certain basic nutritional truths keep reasserting themselves. For instance, it seems blatantly obvious that we could save lots of money researching the root causes of chronic illness by saying simply this—always eat in moderation, and choose foods that are as close to their natural states as possible.

As the latest example, recent research says people who consume whole-fat dairy products—as opposed to their processed, lower-fat versions—have a 60% lower incidence of diabetes! This flies in the face of what experts have been advising for decades—that everyone but babies and toddlers should choose milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products with the lowest possible fat content, because the saturated fat that's prominent in dairy products is bad for your health.

Fat Is Beautiful?

Now, in a study from Harvard published in Annals of Internal Medicine, a team of researchers has found that people with the highest circulating levels of a type of fatty acid that is found only in whole-fat dairy are one-third as likely to get diabetes as those with the lowest circulating levels. Higher levels of the fatty acid-called trans-palmitoleic acid—were also associated with lower body mass index (BMD)...smaller waist circumference...lower triglycerides (potentially harmful blood fats)...higher levels of HDL "good cholesterol...less insulin resistance...and lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for general inflammation.

How the study was done: At the study's start, researchers began with baseline measurements of glucose, insulin, inflammatory markers, circulating fatty acids and blood lipids (such as triglycerides and cholesterol) from stored 1992 blood samples of 3,736 participants in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-funded Cardiovascular Health Study. Those data were compared with the same participants' dietary records and recorded health outcomes (including the incidence of diabetes) over the following 10 years. During this period, 304 new cases of diabetes were recorded. When the participants were grouped according to their circulating levels of trans-palmitoleic acid, the researchers discovered that those with higher levels had the lowest rates of diabetes.

How Much Dairy?

According to the study's lead researcher, Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DPH, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard School of Public

phenomenon with dairy consumption. His, however, is the first to have used objective chemical markers in the blood to determine the relationship between this specific fatty acid and the onset of diabetes. The participants with the highest levels averaged about two servings of whole-fat dairy foods a day.

This is not a license to indulge yourself in a daily serving of strawberry Shortcake with extra whipped cream or a giant ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery...but you might want to consider switching from skim milk to whole milk with your morning cereal and selecting full-fat yogurt over low-fat or nonfat. The difference in calories isn't great-and you may be getting some real metabolic and cardiovascular benefits.

Blueberry Smoothies Block Blood Sugar

Researchers from Louisiana State University have found that drinking two blueberry smoothies daily helped obese, prediabetic adults improve their blood sugar control. The blueberry smoothie contained 22.5 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder.

Everyone can benefit from eating blueberries year-round. You can buy them frozen in the the off-season and freeze-dried blueberry powder is available online and at health-food stores. Sprinkle a teaspoon of the powder on toast (instead of jam), or stir a half cup of fresh blueberries into yogurt.

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