The guest speakers reviewed and evaluated the latest innovations and research on yogurt in the fields of obesity, type 2 diabetes, gut health and sustainability. The supplement coordinators of the event were Prof. Sharon M. Donovan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA and Prof. Raanan Shamir, Schneider Children’s Medical Center, Israel. Prof Mauro Fisberg opened the symposium with a review of the history of yogurt, different consumption patterns around the world and the link with the socioeconomic and educational level of populations.
Impact of yogurt on metabolic diseases
Dr. Moreno describes the importance of childhood as the source of obesity and diabetes, associated with hypertension and chronic inflammation. Can yogurt consumption reduce the risk? A study among European adults identified dairy intake as key factor in the risk for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Forouhi reviewed the results of a prospective study (EPIC-Norfolk), whereby high intake of low-fat fermented dairy, including yogurt, was found inversely associated with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Tremblay described the impact of yogurt as a healthy snack on weight control: High calcium and proteins improve the regulation of appetite and energy metabolism.
Benefits of ferments
Dr. Bienenstock discussed the possible effect of probiotic bacteria in yogurt on central processing of emotion and sensation in the brain. Diversity and composition of gut microbiota are influenced by infant diet, with a long-term health effect. According to Dr. Goulet, probiotics in yogurt may prevent or treat irritable bowel syndrome, acute gastroenteritis, and necrotizing enterocolitis, as well as obesity, allergy, and autoimmune disorders. Dr. Wolfe refers to the association between high-quality proteins intake (more than recommended) through yogurt consumption and improved muscle strength, physical function, bone and cardiovascular health, especially in elderly. Finally, Dr. van Hooijdonk evaluated sustainability of yogurt on nutritional and environmental level.