As you tuck into your yogurt with gusto, you can be confident that it’s doing you a power of good through its host of nutritional benefits. And now we know that if you’re a regular yogurt-eater, the chances are you will be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, that is mostly linked to unbalanced diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
That’s because latest research reveals that eating yogurt and other fermented dairy foods is clearly associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (1).
And it seems the more yogurt you eat, the lower your risk of the disease.
Fermented dairy foods improve health
The number of people developing type 2 diabetes is spiralling upwards across the world as more and more of the global population adopts the “western” diet. Scientists have therefore been stepping up efforts to find solutions to prevent the disease, including investigating the impact of single food groups on diabetes risk.
Fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese are a target for this research, being known as healthy foods packed with nutrients and probiotic bacteria which are thought to contribute to our gut health and overall health. (2)
Fermented dairy foods are associated with reduced diabetes risk
Many clinical trials have sought an association between intake of fermented dairy foods and risk relating to type 2 diabetes in different populations or in various conditions. These have had inconsistent findings, so to get a clearer picture, researchers pooled together 15 higher-quality studies in a meta-analysis involving nearly 486,000 participants with over 20,000 new cases of diabetes over a follow-up of 3 to 17 years. Their dietary intake was generally assessed using a food frequency questionnaire (1).
A wide variation in the values used to compare high- and low-consumption of fermented dairy foods was seen among the studies, with both frequency of servings and amount in grams eaten, ranging from 1 serving/month to 250 g/day. Overall, the analysis found a significant relative fall in the risk of developing diabetes associated with higher intake of fermented dairy foods compared with rare, or no consumption of these foods (OR, 0.925; 95% CI, 0.856 to 0.999).
Diabetes risk falls with increasing yogurt consumption
The benefit of higher yogurt consumption alone was even greater than that found for all fermented dairy foods and showed an increasing benefit associated with greater consumption.
This finding is in line with previous research suggesting a reduced risk for developing cardiovascular disease – a frequent complication of diabetes – in people with raised blood pressure, who ate at least 2 servings/week of yogurt, the authors point out. (3)
‘Our study of the accumulated data suggests that intake of fermented dairy foods is significantly associated with decreased DM [diabetes] risk and may be dose-dependent.’ – Zhang K, et al. 2022.
Global burden of diabetes
- Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting 422 million people worldwide in 2014, up from 108 million in 1980. (4)
- Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
- In 2019, diabetes and kidney disease due to diabetes caused an estimated 2 million deaths.
Maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity, normal body weight and avoiding smoking are known ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
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