Yoghurt might help reduce diabetes risk

A small amount of yoghurt each day could lower diabetes risk, according to a study recently published in the open access Journal, BMC Medicine.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health analysed the eating habits of nearly 200,000 people using information recorded over the past 30 years. When their results were combined with 14 similar studies they revealed an unexpected link between yoghurt consumption and diabetes risk.

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The findings showed that eating a small portion of yoghurt per day (less than a single multipack pot) correlated with an 18% reduction in the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, these preventative powers were not evident in other dairy products.

But, don’t scribble ‘daily yoghurt’ into your diaries just yet…
Eating yoghurt regularly could just be an indicator of a healthy lifestyle – people who eat yoghurt might tend to be healthier in general. If this is true, then yoghurt may have no direct influence over your diabetes risk.

Also, what type of yoghurt are we discussing – natural, acidophilus, probiotic, full-fat?

  • We don’t know what kinds of yoghurts were being eaten.
  • Many low fat yoghurts are high in sugar, these can contribute to obesity & similar weight-associated diseases.

Therefore, some yoghurts might lower your chance of developing diabetes, but they could be increasing your risk of acquiring other diseases.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Everybody needs glucose (sugar) in their blood, but too much can be bad for your body over long periods. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body has trouble controlling the amount of glucose in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, currently affecting about 366 million people globally.

Take home message:

Further research is required to see whether there is a causal link between yoghurt & type 2 diabetes.

For now, your lifestyle is your best tool to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • maintain a healthy weight
  • exercise daily
  • limit alcohol consumption
  • don’t smoke
  • follow a healthy diet low in fat, sugar & salt.

References

Chen et al.: Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC Medicine 2014 12:215.

Credits: Written by Adam May. Image 123rf.com/