Cheese (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Higher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat consumption are linked with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, reveals a new research published in medical journal PLOS Medicine.

Most high-income countries encourage eating low-fat dairy products as part of overall recommendations to limit saturated fat consumption.

But the research conducted by a consortium led by scientists at the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University found higher concentrations of dairy-fat biomarkers were associated with lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For the study, researchers examined specific biomarkers of dairy fat consumption from a total of 63,682 adults from 16 multi-national studies.

The participants were free from type 2 diabetes when the first samples were taken, and 15,158 of them went on to develop type 2 diabetes over the follow-up period of up to 20 years.

When the results of the 16 studies were put together, the researchers found that higher concentrations of dairy-fat biomarkers were associated with lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Dr Fumiaki Imamura from the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, the lead author of the study, said the findings and existing evidence about dairy fat will help inform future dietary recommendations for the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases.”

The current biomarker work has limitations and requires further research on underlying mechanisms, but “the available evidence about dairy fat does not indicate any increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes,” said Imamura.

Professor Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and senior author of the study said their research indicated a need to re-examine the potential metabolic benefits of dairy fat or foods rich in dairy fat, such as cheese.