Healthy eaters may try to avoid cheese, but new research suggests it could actually ward off diabetes.
The chance of developing type 2 diabetes, a condition often linked with obesity, could be reduced by around 12% by regularly snacking on cheese, scientists said. Although high in saturated fat, it may be rich in types of the fat that could be good for the body, they believe.
Fatty foods have long been thought to raise the risks, but uncertainty about the role of dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese and yogurt, has continued.
Most other dairy foods did not have the same beneficial effect as cheese, with the possible exception of yoghurt, the research found.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of the condition and occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin for it to function properly.
Symptoms can be controlled by eating a healthy diet and monitoring your blood glucose level, but sufferers may also need to take insulin medication.
One reason why cheese lovers may be at less risk of diabetes could be that the fermentation process triggers some kind of reaction that protects against diabetes and heart problems, the researchers said.