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Eating yoghurt may reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes

03 December 2014

A high intake of yoghurt has been found to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research published by Harvard researchers in open access journal BMC Medicine.  

This highlights the importance of having yoghurt as part of a healthy diet.  Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar levels.  Around 90% of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, whereby the body either does not produce enough insulin or suffers from insulin resistance, meaning that the insulin produced is unable to process glucose properly.  

The researchers pooled results of three prospective cohort studies that followed the medical history and lifestyle habits of 194, 448 health professionals.  At the beginning of each cohort study, participants completed a questionnaire to gather baseline information on lifestyle and occurrence of chronic disease, and were followed up every 2 years with further questionnaires.  

Within the three cohorts a total of 15,156 cases of type 2 diabetes were identified during the follow-up period.  Overall, no association was found between total dairy consumption and type 2 diabetes.

Consumption of individual dairy products such as cheese, whole milk, skimmed milk and yoghurt was analysed.  After adjusting their findings for dietary factors and chronic disease factors such as age and body mass index (BMI), the researchers found an association between high yoghurt intake and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes development.  

The authors then conducted a meta-analysis, incorporating their results and other published studies, up to March 2013, that investigated the association between dairy products and type 2 diabetes.  This found that consumption of one 28 g serving of yoghurt per day was associated with an 18% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.  

The consistent findings for yoghurt suggest that it can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern.  However, randomised clinical trials are warranted to further examine the causal effects of yoghurt consumption as well as probiotics on body weight and insulin resistance. [Science Daily] [NHS] [Medical News Today]

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