Yogurt may help prevent diabetes, study shows

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine from Yahoo Canada

Good news, yogurt fans! Your love of the creamy, rich snack may be cutting your risk of diabetes.

A new Cambridge University study suggests those who eat low-fat fermented dairy products -- such as yogurt, cottage cheese and fromage frais -- may have a lower risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.

Researchers found that people who ate yogurt and certain cheeses cut their risk of developing diabetes by about 25 per cent compared to those who ate none.

The researchers offer a couple of hypotheses as to how low-fat dairy could prevent diabetes. They speculate that the vitamin K in these products may play a role, as previous research has linked it with a reduced risk of Type-2 diabetes. As well, the probiotics in dairy products may improve fat levels in the blood.

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To achieve this lower risk of diabetes, a person would need to eat about four-and-a-half servings (about 4.4-oz each) of low-fat fermented dairy products per week.

"At a time when we have a lot of other evidence that consuming high amounts of certain foods, such as added sugars and sugary drinks, is bad for our health, it is very reassuring to have messages about other foods like yoghurt and low-fat fermented dairy products that could be good for our health," lead researcher Nita Forouhi tells Agence France-Presse.

The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, examined the eating habits of 3,500 British men and women. Over the course of the study, 753 participants developed Type-2 diabetes.

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It is important to note that a limitation of this study is that the researchers only based their findings off of the participants' reported dairy intake for the first week of the 11-year period. As NHS Choices notes, it is quite possible that their diets changed over the 11-year follow-up period.

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Peter Clifton, a professor at the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Australia, says that past research shows a clear connection between yogurt consumption and diabetes.

“There have been several meta analyses putting together all the studies on dairy and Type 2 diabetes recently and the data is mixed, but overall they show protection from various forms of dairy including yogurt,” he tells Bloomberg.

As promising as the results of this study appear, it is important not to overstate the role that yogurt may play in preventing diabetes.

There are other lifestyle and diet factors that influence a person’s risk of diabetes more significantly. Maintaining a regular weight, shifting to a more plant-based diet, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol are four key changes that can reduce your risk.

What's the healthiest kind of yogurt in your supermarket? Watch the video below to find out!