Yogurt May Help Prevent Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes risk was lower in patients who ate yogurt every day

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away — but pairing that fruit with yogurt may keep diabetes away, too.

A new study found that patients who ate a lot of yogurt had lowered chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

The authors of the study said a daily serving of yogurt could be a part of a healthy diet.

"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 study author Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, in a press statement. "The consistent findings for yogurt suggest that it can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern."

dailyRx News spoke with Rusty Gregory, a wellness coach, personal fitness trainer and author of "Self-Care Reform: How to Discover Your Own Path to Good Health" and "Living Wheat-Free For Dummies," about what might explain this link between yogurt and diabetes risk.

"This study is a huge boost to fermented foods. One possibility is that fermented foods provide the appropriate bacterial environment in the gut to eliminate inflammation, which is at the core of all modern diseases, including diabetes," Gregory said.

"Another possible reason that dairy, namely yogurt, is seen to reduce the risk of diabetes is its whey protein content, which has a glucose lowering effect. Dairy also contains vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and certain fatty acids that may play a part in this as wel," he said.

"One thing to consider is that people who eat low-fat yogurt may be prone to live out a healthier lifestyle, such as exercise and maintain their weight, than non low-fat yogurt eaters," Gregory said.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not respond properly to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. This form of diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world.

Dr. Hu and team used data from past surveys on the nutrition habits and health histories of more than 194,000 health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists. These surveys came from several large studies and were readministered every four years.

Dr. Hu and colleagues found that 15,156 patients had developed type 2 diabetes by the end of the studies they participated in. They also found that yogurt intake was consistently linked to a lower risk of diabetes among these patients.

People who ate at least one serving of yogurt per day had a 17 percent lower chance of getting type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat yogurt regularly. Other kinds of dairy did not appear to provide the same type 2 diabetes prevention benefits.

Past research has suggested that certain components of yogurt — such as calcium or magnesium — may lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. Dr. Hu and team noted that more research is needed to study why or how yogurt may lower type 2 diabetes risk.

This study was published Nov. 24 in BMC Medicine.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health funded the study. One study author was a member of the Unilever North American Scientific Advisory Board.

Review Date: 
November 24, 2014
Last Updated:
November 25, 2014