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Eating yogurt is associated with healthy weight management

Eating yogurt is associated with healthy weight management - YINI

Yogurt consumption is associated with reduced body mass index (BMI), reduced body weight or weight gain, thinner waist and reduced body fat.

Yogurt is linked to reduced risk of overweight and obesity and smaller waist circumference


Yogurt may be classified as a protective food against long-term weight gain, as demonstrated in numerous studies:

  • A recent meta-analysis including 32,330 individuals (11,947 overweight/obesity cases) across five studies conducted in the USA, Spain and Korea found a 13% reduction in risk of overweight/obesity for every 50 g (~2 ounce) increase in daily yogurt consumption.
  • Eating more yogurt was associated with less weight gain per 4-year period among 120,877 healthy non-obese adults in the USA followed for 12–20 years. For each additional serving of yogurt per day there were 372 g (~13 ounces) less weight gain over 4 years.
  • In the USA Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort, predominantly overweight people who ate three or more servings of yogurt per week gained about 55% less weight over a year than those who ate less than one serving per week. When it came to waist size, high-yogurt consumers gained 20% less circumference than low yogurt consumers.
  • Data from the USA NHANES (1999–2014) study revealed a reduced prevalence of obesity in adults associated with consumption of yogurt or a probiotic supplement.
  • A large Spanish cohort study in non-overweight adults found that people who ate seven or more servings of yogurt per week had a 20% lower risk of overweight or obesity after 6 years when compared with low-yogurt consumers (up to two servings per week).
  • In a Canadian study, yogurt consumption was associated with lower body weight, waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference, and tended to be associated with a lower BMI when compared with no yogurt consumption – benefits which were sustained over 6 years of follow up.
  • In a UK study, increasing consumption of fermented dairy products (low-fat yogurt or cheese) was associated with a smaller increase in body weight among 15,612 adults followed for 3.7 years.
  • Higher consumption of low-fat yogurt (>3 servings/week) was associated with less visceral and intermuscular fat and smaller waist circumference among women.

“Increasing yogurt consumption is proportionally associated with lower body weight and reduced weight gain over several years. Daily yogurt consumption is also linked to other indicators of healthy body composition including lower body fat and smaller waist circumference, both in adults and in children.” – Professor Barbara Rolls

Yogurt and weight management - figure - YINI


Results from the USA NHANES (2005–2008) study of children aged 8–18 years and the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study showed that yogurt consumption was associated with less body fat compared with non-consumption. Among overweight or obese adolescent girls, increased dairy consumption (4 servings/day of milk, low-fat yogurt, cheese) was associated with improved body composition in the absence of weight loss.

Yogurt may support body weight reduction when dieting

  • Some evidence exists to suggest that including yogurt in an energy-controlled diet leads to greater weight loss.
  • A 3-month trial in 34 obese people found that those who included three servings of fat-free yogurt daily as part of an energy-restricted diet lost 22% more body weight and 61% more body fat than those not eating yogurt.
  • Consumption of yogurt fortified with calcium, protein and probiotics within a low energy diet versus a low energy diet without yogurt or with plain yogurt led to greater improvement in BMI, waist circumference, body fat percentage and reduction in body fat mass among obese people over 8–10 weeks.

How might yogurt influence body weight and body fat?

Several theories have been put forward:

  • Yogurt consumption increases the feeling of fullness and decreases the feeling of hunger
  • Yogurt consumers tend to choose healthy diets and healthier lifestyles compared with non-consumers
  • Live bacteria in yogurt may beneficially alter the gut microbiota and influence weight, although the mechanism for this is as yet unclear.
  • Calcium in yogurt may affect body fat by reducing its absorption from the intestine, increasing breakdown of fats,125 and causing less fat to be stored in fat cells.
  • Yogurt naturally contains B vitamins and fortification of yogurt with complementary B vitamins may contribute to body weight management through modification of energy-yielding metabolism this has been shown to aid weight loss among overweight and obese people.
  • Obesity is accompanied by chronic, low-grade inflammation in various tissues. A Brazilian population-based study suggested that increasing yogurt consumption may protect against inflammation.

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