As the incidence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome is increasing worldwide, these conditions are the main challenges for healthcare in the future. The aim of this symposium was to discover how yogurt consumption contributes to this mission. The consumption of milk products is very low in Mexico (8 kg per person each year), compared to the Netherlands and Spain, whereby an individual consumes between 30 and 40 kg yogurt each year. Experts state that to beat these health threats in the future, the awareness and knowledge concerning health and nutrition needs to be improved and become more widespread.
Gut Human Microbiota
The scientific program opened with a case on ‘Yogurt Effects’ by Professor Francisco Guarner (University Hospital Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain). According to his research, changes in the composition of human gut microbiota are associated with several diseases, such as the obesity epidemic in Western countries. Recent studies showed that low genetic diversity in the gut microbiome increases the risk of several features associated with the metabolic disorders, such as an inflammatory profile (increased C-reactive protein), disturbed glucose homeostasis (hyperglycemia, insulin resistance) as well as body fat accumulation (leptin resistance). The incorrect use of antibiotics may also destroy the beneficial gut microbiota and therefore affects the immune system. A subsequent study revealed that a low-caloric diet increases the diversity of the intestinal microbiota, and reduces inflammatory abnormalities. Nimbe Torres (University of Wisconsin) confirms these findings. As nutrition influences the balance of gut microbiota, the low consumption of functional foods, such as yogurt, weakens the diversity of microbiota.
Yogurt and Health Effects
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is known as a combination of metabolic abnormalities that can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes over time. Carmen Sayon-Orea (University of Navarra, Spain) described the preventive effect of yogurt consumption: a cohort study in Spain showed that a combined exposure of high yogurt consumption (more than 7 portions/week) and high fruit consumption (more than 265g/day) is significantly associated with a lower risk of developing MetS (-39%). In his latest research, André Marette (Hôpital Laval, Québec, Canada) described yogurt as a nutrient-dense food, containing probiotics, high quality protein, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), calcium and fatty acids. His study concluded that probiotics, prebiotics, and their combinations are clinically eﬀective for a large number of gut based disorders like IBD, digestion, travelers’ diarrhea, and for improving/helping to maintain general health. According to Carlos Aguilar Salinas (Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion, Mexico City), a low fat diet is not a synonym for a healthy diet. This statement is supported by Maria Eugenia Frigolet (Hospital San Angel Inn Universidad, Mexico). She claimed that yogurt contains palmitholeic acids, a fatty acid with positive benefits on metabolism.
Positive evaluation of the YINI Symposium
With 488 attendees from different states (27 of 32), the symposium was a great success! With a majority of nutrition students (64%), several universities were represented. Also nutritionists (6%) and professors in nutrition (19%) attended the event. The presentation of the speakers were evaluated as excellent and scored high in quality. 96% is convicted to consume yogurt as part of their daily diet. 97% will recommend yogurt consumption mainly because of its benefits (30%), prevention of chronic diseases (23%), for helping other people or their patients (15%), its nutritional content (5%) or without any specific reason but for improving their health. The event was covered by several media: 19 national media in Mexico and 10 local media in Cancùn. A media round table was organized, including several one-on-one interviews with experts.