The optimal functioning of the body requires that glycaemia, which represents the concentration of sugar in our blood, be precisely regulated. Its level must remain within a narrow range to keep the body working optimally. If blood sugar chronically exceeds a threshold of normality -High blood glucose-, there will be a significant increase in the risk to develop severe long-term body damage and dysfunction (particularly targeting organs like the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.). Taken together, these abnormalities are common symptoms characterizing diabetes. Several Types of diabetes can be observed:
- Type 1 diabetes (T1D): A condition where the body does not produce enough insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes (T2D): A chronic condition where the body’s insulin in not working effectively. It occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells develop resistance to insulin.This is the most common type of diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes: A temporary condition that occurs in pregnancy and carries long-term risk of T2D.
How to prevent diabetes?
Approximately 415 million people are affected by diabetes worldwide and it is estimated this will increase to 642 million people by 2040. Prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is one of our biggest public health challenges. The World Health Organization states that promoting healthy diets and increasing physical activity will help reduce the occurrence of obesity and T2D, and will accrue additional benefits by reducing complications among people with all types of diabetes.
Healthy diets and diabetes prevention
Some dietary patterns have been associates with improved T2D risk. For example the Mediterranean style eating pattern, which includes fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, minimally processed foods, olive oil, and dairy products (mainly cheese and yogurt) has been associated with reduced incidence of T2D. Dietary fats can affect glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity and may therefore play a crucial role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Studies have indicated that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats might be favourable in the prevention of T2D. In line with this, it has been suggested that plant sources of fat may be a better choice compared with animal sources. Nevertheless, several epidemiological studies have indicated that a high intake of dairy products may actually be protective.
Yogurt and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes development
There is scientific evidences that eating dairy foods and having a good nutrition is associated with reduced risk for T2D. Researchers found that high consumption of yogurt was associated with a lower T2D risk. Including yogurt and cheese in your meals is an effective way of reducing your appetite and controlling blood glucose. Milk proteins increase satiety, and this together with the high calcium and vitamin D levels in dairy may contribute to these beneficial effects. (Previous research has also suggested calcium, magnesium, or specific fatty acids present in dairy products may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.)
Moreover, yogurt have a low GI (glycemic index ) and consumption of low GI foods has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The varying amounts of fat and protein, nutrients, which are known to reduce glycemic response, could play a role. Swapping yogurt for other foods containing added sugars could therefore reduce the GI of the diet.
The US 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that “consumption of dairy foods provides numerous health benefits, including lower risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity”. Several diabetes associations around the world also recommend consumption of yogurt and low fat dairy foods each day.
So 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. This highlights the importance of having yogurt as part of a healthy diet. According to the experts, the protective effect of yogurt could be partially explained by direct effects on satiety and/or energy intake, decreasing adiposity and consequently development of insulin resistance and T2D. Dairy products, like yogurt, may also enhance the regulatory effect of insulin. Finally, another important mechanism could be probiotic properties of yogurt that could have a positive impact on gut microbiota and the regulation of blood sugar level.
Probiotics and diabetes
Indeed, it has been shown that probiotic bacteria improves fat profiles and antioxidant status in people with type 2 diabetes and the researchers suggest this could have a risk-lowering effect in developing the condition. The epidemiologic evidences, showed that the consumption of fermented dairy products is associated with a lower risk of diabetes. Hypothesis proposed states that live active cultures could have a 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.