How dairy products affect blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar
Milk, yogurt and cheese products are not only delicious, they also contain a lot of proteins and vitamins. They also serve as an important source of calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. People with type 2 diabetes or people with high blood sugar levels should know a few important things about dairy products so they don't have to do without them.
Some dairy products can be high in fat and salt, causing cholesterol levels to rise. A high cholesterol level in turn is considered a risk factor for heart diseases. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, those affected should pay particular attention to which milk and cheese products they use. The British health organization "Diabetes UK" explains how to use it correctly.
Use a low-fat variant for milk
If you have high cholesterol or suffer from type 2 diabetes, you should consume low-fat milk, Diabetes UK recommends. Low-fat milk has all the benefits of regular milk, including calcium, but not the disadvantages of fat. This could save over 10 milliliters of fat per glass of milk (0.3 liters).
What should diabetics look out for in cheese?
Many types of cheese are rich in fat and salt. People with high blood sugar levels should be careful not to overeat cheese. No more than 30 grams of cheese should be consumed per meal. This corresponds approximately to a piece of cheese the size of a matchbox. In addition, according to the health organization, diabetics should not use high-fat varieties. From 17.5 grams of fat per 100 grams, cheeses are considered high in fat. Classic varieties such as Edam, Brie, Cheddar and blue cheese fall into this category. Many varieties are also offered in a reduced-fat version.
When is there too much salt in the cheese?
Many types of cheese contain a lot of salt. From a value of more than 1.5 grams per 100 grams, the salt content is considered high. "Too much salt can raise blood pressure, which is not good for overall health," warns Diabetes UK. Therefore, not only diabetics, but also people with high blood pressure should take a look at the nutritional table before making a purchase decision.
These cheeses are particularly suitable
The healthiest cheese products, according to Diabetes UK, are cottage cheese, curd cheese, and reduced-fat cream cheese. The fat and salt content is the lowest for these types of cheese. But if you don't want to do without the strong taste of fatter cheese, Diabetes UK has another tip for you: Instead of cutting the cheese, you can grind it down with a kitchen grater. So you get a bigger taste experience with a relatively small portion.
What should you look for in yogurt?
"Cream cheese and yoghurt can vary greatly in their fat content," explain the health experts. In addition to a low fat content, you should also pay attention to the sugar content. According to Diabetes UK, many food manufacturers balance the low fat percentage with an additional amount of sugar to counteract changes in taste and consistency. Therefore, you should rather choose natural yogurt or low-fat Greek yogurt. The lack of sweetness can be compensated for with chopped fruit.
What influence do dairy products have on blood sugar levels?
The so-called glycemic index indicates whether a food increases the blood sugar level quickly, moderately or slowly. Milk and dairy products generally have a low glycemic index, according to Diabetes UK. This is thanks to the lactose (natural milk sugar) and milk proteins, which ensure slow digestion.
How much milk products should diabetics consume?
Diabetes UK recommends people with type 2 diabetes to consume three servings of dairy products a day. One serving corresponds to:
- 190 milliliters of milk or
- a small mug of yogurt or
- two tablespoons of cottage cheese or
- 30 grams of cheese.
For more information, see the article "Lowering blood sugar". (vb)