Proceedings 2017 July 2017: Diabetes

Diabetes: one more reason to love yogurt!

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Many of us have been touched by diabetes. Maybe it’s a friend or family member who lives with diabetes or perhaps you battle the condition yourself. Fortunately, there is some good news: more and more studies indicate there may be a beneficial association between yogurt and Type 2 diabetes.

Yogurt could be an excellent choice no matter who you are. And you can also feel confident choosing yogurt, if you have type 2 diabetes or if you want to prevent it. Why yogurt can be a nutritious choice in that context was introduced by Sharon Donovan (University of Illinois, Urbana) and Jordi Salas-Salvado (University Hospital of Sant Joan de Reus, Madrid, Spain) during the Fourth Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt dedicated to yogurt and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). The proceedings are now published in The Journal of Nutrition. Here are the key stories from San Diego, USA.

Should I be concerned about fat and sugar in yogurt?

No, yogurt reduces the risk whatever its fat or sugar content! In fact, the epidemiologic evidences, reviewed by Prof Salas-Salvado (University Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona) showed that the consumption of any type of yogurt and other fermented dairy products is associated with a lower risk of diabetes. When evaluating your diet to face diabetes, calories or nutrients aren’t the only factor to consider. Also worth noting is the glycemic index of your food, which indicates the influence of different foods on your blood sugar level. High-glycemic foods cause a rapid spike in your blood sugar, while those with a low glycemic index (GI) cause a slower increase.

Enjoying a bowl of yogurt won’t cause a rapid blood sugar response. Do you know why? Thomas Wolever (University of Toronto) analysis showed that the GI values of plain and sweetened yogurt are lower than can be expected based on their carbohydrate content. Swapping yogurt for other foods containing added sugars could therefore reduce the GI of the diet.  By the way, consumption of low GI foods has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Listen what your gut’s telling you…

Do the live microbes in yogurt support your gut microbiota and help you to fight against diabetes in the long term? Researchers working on the gut microbiota have observed that many fermented foods have positive health effects. Consuming fermented foods will at least temporarily bolster the living microbes transiting through the gut, and that is likely a good thing. Li Wen (Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, Connecticut), investigated the connections between diabetes, yogurt and the gut microbiota.

What do we know? Hypothesis proposed by Li Wen states that yogurt delivers a large number of live active cultures that could explain beneficial impact on the gut microbiota which in turn modulates the body metabolism. Studies confirm that a high diversity in your gut microbiota can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes… The statement “You are what you eat” has never been so true ! Finally, Angelo Tremblay (Laval University, Quebec City, Canada) showed overall how the consumption of yogurt can be a signature of a healthy lifestyle.

Indeed, compared to nonconsumers, yogurt consumers have better intakes of key nutrients, are more aligned with dietary guidelines and exhibit healthier non-nutritional behaviors. So, think about it next time you’re out at the store, grab a few of your favorite yogurt!

Learn more about yogurt and diabetes in our next story

Source: Donovan S M et al. The Journal of Nutrition; first published online June 14, 2017.