Australian researchers believe they have discovered a way to help combat and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes inhibits the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin and stops it from making the amount needed by the human body.

Curtin University's Professor Phillip Newsholme says his research has discovered that whey protein, which is found in milk, has a positive impact on pancreatic cells, helping them to release more insulin.

He says it also helps regulate blood glucose levels.

The study was conducted on mice and will now be tested on people with diabetes to confirm the results.

About one million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Those suffering from type 2 collectively spend up to $6 billion a year on healthcare needs.