The authors prospectively followed 3,454 non-diabetic individuals from the PREDIMED study. After a follow-up of 4.1 years, results showed that total dairy product consumption was associated with a reduced T2D risk of 32%. This association appeared to be mainly attributed to low-fat dairy. The association was even lightly stronger with total yogurt consumption (-40%). Furthermore, the study also revealed that yogurt as a snack can be beneficial: substituting 1 unhealthy snack portion per day (biscuit, chocolate or cake) with 1 portion of yogurt can reduce the risk of T2D by up to 45%. These findings highlight the potential role of dairy products, like yogurt, in the prevention of T2D in older adults.
Why is yogurt best?
Although nutritionally, yogurt is comparable to milk, the processing, added ingredients, and fermentation improve the nutritional value of yogurt and provide it with unique properties that enhance the bioavailability of some nutrients (e.g. riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc). Therefore, yogurt consumption may help to alleviate some of the most common nutritional deficits and related complications in older adults.
Multiple mechanisms might mediate the relationship between dairy consumption and T2D risk. A potential benefit on T2D has been attributed to components of dairy products such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D. Some other recent research suggests that probiotic bacteria found in yogurt may improve fat profiles and antioxidant status.