Daily consumption of yoghurt can lower diabetes risk

A high intake of yogurt may be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes suggests a new Meta analysis. A daily tablespoon of yoghurt reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by nearly a fifth.

Consumption of one 28g serving of yogurt per day is associated with an 18 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, the findings showed.

The research, conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health and published this month at BMC Medicine, is a cohort study, meaning that it combined data from three studies that were already very large in their own right.

“ We found that higher intake of yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, whereas other dairy foods and consumption of total dairy did not show this association,” said senior researcher of the study Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health in the US.

The findings suggest that yogurt can be incorporated into a healthy diet pattern, Hu added. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells develop resistance to insulin.

The researchers also suggest that the so-called good probiotic bacteria in yogurt may help boost that effect and provide some protection against diabetes.

Curiously, regular yogurt consumption appeared to significantly reduce the risk of diabetes, and this held true even when controlling for other dietary and lifestyle factors.

The researchers pooled the results of three prospective cohort studies that followed the medical history and lifestyle habits of health professionals. The study involved a total of 289,900 participants. Within the three cohorts, 15,156 cases of Type 2 diabetes were identified during the follow-up period.

Crunching the numbers, they discovered total dairy consumption had no link to type 2 diabetes risk, so the researchers next looked at individual dairy products, including skim milk, cheese and yogurt. They found a high consumption of yogurt went hand in hand with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

When adjusting for chronic disease risk factors such as age and BMI (body mass index) as well as dietary factors, it was found that high consumption of yogurt was associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The findings were confirmed when the authors conducted a meta-analysis, incorporating their results and other studies published up to March 2013.

The study appeared in the journal BMC Medicine.