Effect of high milk and sugar-sweetened and non-caloric soft drink intake on insulin sensitivity after 6 months in overweight and obese adults: a randomized controlled trial

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Milk contributes with saturated fat, but randomized controlled trials (RCT) on the effects of dairy on the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) where dairy is given as whole foods are scarce. The objective of our study was to investigate the long-term effects of semi-skimmed milk on insulin sensitivity and further to compare milk with sugar-sweetened soft drinks (SSSD).


A secondary analysis of a 6-month RCT with 60 overweight and obese subjects randomly assigned to 1 L/d of either milk (1.5 g fat/100 mL), SSSD, non-calorie soft drink (NCSD), or water was conducted. Insulin sensitivity was evaluated by oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and plasma free fatty acids. Second, fasting blood lipids, blood pressure, and concentration of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 were assessed.


There were no differences between milk, SSSD, NCSD, and water on insulin sensitivity assessed by OGTT (Matsuda Index, fasting, and area under the curve glucose, insulin and homeostasis model assessment values). SSSD increased total cholesterol compared to NCSD (P = 0.007), and triacylglycerol compared to NCSD and water (P = 0.045 and 0.045, respectively). None of the other parameters differed significantly between the groups.


In conclusion, there were no differences in effect between intake of milk, SSSD, NCSD, and water (1 L/d) for 6-month on risk markers of T2D in overweight and obese adults. As a secondary analysis, these results need confirmation in future studies.

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We thank Christian Ritz for support with the statistical analyses. We gratefully acknowledge the work of Maria Maersk and Anita Belza, who conducted the intervention and helped planning the study. The authors’ responsibilities were following—S.E.: performed the statistical analysis, wrote the manuscript with primary responsibility for final content; J.M.B.: responsible for the analysis of PAI-1 and FFA; T.T. and A.R.: initiated the current analyses and supplied valuable knowledge and scientific consultation during the process; A.A. and B.R.: took part in the funding and design; all authors: read and approved the final manuscript. A.A. has received research grants from Arla Foods, Denmark; The Danish Dairy Research Foundation; Global Dairy Platform, USA; and the Danish Agriculture and Food Foundation. T.T. has received research grants from Arla Foods, Denmark; The Danish Dairy Research Foundation; and the Dairy Institute, Rosemont, IL. A.R. has received research funding from the Dairy Research Industry, Rosemont, IL, and The Danish Agriculture and Food Council.

Author information


  1. Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 30, DK-1958, Frederiksberg, Denmark

    • Sara Engel
    • , Tine Tholstrup
    • , Jens M Bruun
    • , Arne Astrup
    •  & Anne Raben
  2. Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine (MEA), Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

    • Jens M Bruun
    •  & Bjørn Richelsen
  3. Department of Internal Medicine, Randers Regional Hospital, Randers, Denmark

    • Jens M Bruun


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Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


The sponsors had no influence on the execution of the study, the manuscripts, or its conclusions.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sara Engel.