Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy commodities may not automatically spike her blood sugar, but they could make you much more insulin resistant over time.

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Dairy is among those food category that spurs a the majority of conflicting nutritional advice. Continuous or lactose-free? Skim or totality fat? timeless dairy or dairy product alternatives?

The metabolic after-effects of spend dairy foodstuffs are challenging to unpack for a pair of reasons. First, back milk includes natural sugars, it additionally packs fat and protein — components that typically help glucose get in the bloodstream slowly and also steadily, says Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, a practical nutrition dietitian. The carbohydrate source in dairy product is lactose, a naturally-occurring sugar that doesn’t spike blood sugar levels as quickly as sleek sugars do, she adds.

Second, research mirrors dairy is what’s dubbed an insulin secretagogue—meaning it prompts the pancreas come secrete insulin, sometimes much more than wednesday expect based upon the glycemic index of the food being consumed. Because that example, a study of 13 people with type 2 diabetes uncovered that their insulin solution after spend dairy products was five-fold greater than expected based on the food’s carbohydrate content. 

That excess insulin have the right to blunt the glucose rise after consumption, according to Titgemeier “Which isn’t necessarily a great thing,” she explains. “It may blunt the acute spike but make us more insulin resistant the next day.” and while the high-fat content of milk may help temper its sugars in the short-term, all that sugar still needs to be processed. “A lot of this is lost on world if they room just focusing on the spike,” claims Titgemeier.

So, what walk this typical for you and that morning smoothie or bowl of unsweetened yogurt? this is what the research says.

First, What is Dairy?

Dairy is any product make from the milk of a lactating animal, such together cows, goats, and also sheep.

There are number of different types of dairy products, including:

Milk, the base form of every dairy products.Cream, the high-fat layer skimmed native the top of milk.Butter, do by separating the butterfat native the buttermilk in cream.Cheese, do by coagulating one of the proteins in milk dubbed casein.Yogurt, make by fermenting either milk or cream to transform milk sugar right into lactic acid.

Dairy foodstuffs are a resource of protein, fat, and carbohydrate that additionally contain nutrients prefer calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. The key carbohydrate in dairy product is lactose, a milk sugar that the body breaks down v a cradle enzyme referred to as lactase. When lactase production is high during infancy, research shows this often declines as we age. (In fact, as lot as 75 percent of the adult populace may have some degree of lactose intolerance as result of their decreasing levels that lactase.)

Dairy additionally contains 2 primary forms of protein: casein, i beg your pardon is spend slowly and provides a steady release the amino acids into the bloodstream, and whey, i m sorry is spend faster.

Why Dairy causes Insulin Surges

Dairy has carbs, in the form of lactose, so we mean it to trigger some insulin release; insulin’s job is to clean glucose (produced through breaking under carbohydrates) native the bloodstream. But research mirrors that consuming dairy consistently triggers disproportionately high surges of insulin, provided its carbohydrate pack — by a element of 3-6 times, follow to one study of healthy subjects. In contrast, once researchers gave subjects pure lactose, their insulin solution matched that is glycemic index, suggesting something unique about dairy reasons it to kick insulin response into overdrive. The exact reason for dairy’s insulinogenic nature is unknown, however researchers believe the protein in milk pat a role. Because that example, lot of studies present that whey protein increases post-meal insulin through as lot as 90%. Other factors may incorporate amino acids released after eat or transforming the timing of the relax of incretin hormones, which stimulate insulin secretion.

Related Article: What is insulin resistance?

Is dairy product Ultimately an excellent or bad for Blood Glucose Levels?

We lack a clear consensus on even if it is dairy’s insulinogenic result is ultimately advantageous or harmful to our metabolic health. Part studies present dairy usage can command to reduced insulin sensitivity and also increased insulin resistance:

Other research shows a more positive dietary impact:

Related Article: What is Glucose?

Why the different Findings?

One factor appears to it is in the health and wellness state the the research participants. Because that example, a 2014 testimonial of 10 short- and also long-term treatment studies (in which researcher assign a particular protocol come a team of participants) concluded:

“For normal-weight volunteers, higher dairy usage does not influence glucose metabolism, and also in those overweight and obese who would be insulin resistant, the results have actually been mixed, indicating the the impact of dairy is of much less importance 보다 weight loss or practice to slow-moving or eliminate the likelihood of developing .”

The exact same review also suggested the the conflicting results may arise since many components influence insulin sensitivity, and those components can communicate with one another. In various other words, changing one element (like including or subtracting dairy to/from your diet) could impact many other components ( human body weight, because that example, which directly impacts glucose metabolism). 

Study architecture may likewise be a factor. Several of the confident research findings come indigenous cross-sectional examinations of big populations, rather than adhering to the same individuals over time to see exactly how dietary factors influence their irreversible health.

How must You Think around Dairy in her Diet?

Until we have a far better understanding of the short- and also long-term impacts of dairy product on individuals, yes no simple research-driven answer for whether or not to encompass dairy in your diet. Ultimately, us need far better personal biomarker testing—like, say, an at-home insulin test—to make an ext informed decisions.

Although most dairy products cause an enhanced insulin response, the result on insulin sensitivity and also glucose levels seems to vary according to the food’s protein and fat composition. Here is part guidance because that different varieties of dairy:


What come do: Opt because that full-fat and also keep the in moderation. Why: One 12-year follow-up study in men discovered that totality milk is connected with lower risk of emerging “central obesity” (defined as a waist-hip ratio higher than one) compared to reduced-fat milk. Another an extremely recent evaluation suggests the dairy fats reduce the risk of diabetes. Various other research has found that those who consume several full-fat dairy assets have greater levels that trans-palmitoleic acid circulating in the blood, i beg your pardon is connected with a reduced incidence the diabetes. However, various other studies display a link between saturated fats and insulin resistance, so also if girlfriend opt for some full-fat dairy, save it in moderation.

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Fermented dairy

What come do: Feel complimentary to eat yogurt, kefir, cheese, and also other fermented dairy products, however look for unsweetened versions. Why: as soon as researchers in Sweden added fermented milk (a.k.a. Yogurt) and also pickles (cucumbers kept in vinegar) come a breakfast the high-carb white bread, they discovered that the combination reduced blood sugar and also insulin levels compared to research participants who just ate the bread. The study says that the lactic acid created during fermentation lowers milk’s insulinogenic effects. Fermented sources of dairy additionally feed the good bugs in her gut, fostering a healthy and balanced microbiome, states Titgemeier. “And we know gut microbiome is concerned insulin sensitivity.”

Ice cream

What come do: Best come avoid. Or try newer, keto-friendly versions the substitute sugar alcohols. Simply go slow, as these can cause digestive issues. Why: The high-fat contents in many ice cream put it lower on the GI index than you might think (the fat helps sluggish glucose absorption), however most ranges still load a most sugar. And a study comparing the body insulin an answer to several common foods placed ice cream at around the exact same level as a candy bar. 


What come do: Look because that cheeses high in protein prefer parmesan and Swiss, and avoid pairing with refined-carbohydrate foods like white-flour crackers. Why: A examine in insulin-resistant rats showed that both high- and low-fat kinds of cheese boosted insulin sensitivity, and the insulin-response study mentioned earlier uncovered cheese to it is in on the lower end of the spectrum. 

What around Dairy Alternatives?

When it pertains to non-dairy milks and other products, the nutritional profiles vary a lot of . There room a couple of essential facts to keep in mind once considering these alternatives:

Look for unsweetened versions of nut and also bean milks, which have actually less protein than constant dairy, but also have 0g the sugar and don’t have the exact same insulinogenic effect. Beware that even some unsweetened options can load a many naturally developing sugar. “Oat milk is the worst because that blood sugar,” states Titgemeier. That’s because the manufacturing process alters the chemistry composition of the oats. “Even though most varieties have no included sugar, they still need to put ‘added sugar’ on the label,” she says.

Nutritional content of Dairy and also Alternatives

Whole Milk

Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 149 Fat: 8 g Carbohydrate: 12 g Fiber: 0g Protein: 8 g Calcium: 199 mg

Skim milk

Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 101 Fat: 0 g Carbohydrate: 14 g Fiber: 0 g Protein: 10 g Calcium: 300 mg

Oat milk (unsweetened)

Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 79 Fat: 1.5 g Carbohydrate: 14 g Fiber: 1.9 g Protein: 4g Calcium: 19 mg

Almond milk (unsweetened)

Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 37 Fat: 2.3 g Carbohydrate: 3.2 g Fiber: 0.5 g Protein: 1 g Calcium: 449 mg

Soy milk

Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 105 Fat: 3.6 g Carbohydrate: 12 g Fiber: 0.5 g Protein: 6.3 g Calcium: 300 mg

Rice milk

Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 115 Fat: 2.4 g Carbohydrate: 22.4 g Fiber: 0.7 g Protein: 0.7 g Calcium: 288 mg