Can Yogurt Help Lower Diabetes Risk?

Just what are the health benefits of yogurt?

First off, your body needs to have a healthy amount of ”good” bacteria in the digestive tract, and many yogurts are made using active, good bacteria. One of the words you’ll be hearing more of in relation to yogurt is ”probiotics.” Probiotic, which literally means ”for life,” refers to living organisms that can result in a health benefit when eaten in adequate amounts.

Miguel Freitas, PhD, medical marketing manager for Dannon Co., says the benefits associated with probiotics are specific to certain strains of these “good” bacteria. Many provide their benefits by adjusting the microflora (the natural balance of organisms) in the intestines, or by acting directly on body functions, such as digestion or immune function. (Keep in mind that the only yogurts that contain probiotics are those that say “live and active cultures” on the label.)

And let us not forget that yogurt comes from milk. So yogurt eaters will also get a dose of animal protein (about 9 grams per 6-ounce serving), plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium, and magnesium.



Individuals who consume an average of 18 ounces of yogurt per day were associated with reduced risks for Type 2 diabetes. Researchers said the benefit may be attributed to the probiotics present in the dairy product.

Consuming yogurt regularly may help reduce a person’s risks for Type 2 diabetes, a lifestyle disease that now affects an increasing number of Americans.

A new study published in the journal BMC Medicine on Nov. 25 reveals that individuals who have a daily serving of yogurt have reduced odds of developing type 2 diabetes.

Study researcher Frank Hu, from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues hypothesized that the antioxidants and probiotics present in yogurt could have a positive effect on a person’s odds of developing the metabolic disease.

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More than 29 million people in the United States (and about 366 million people worldwide) have diabetes, while another 86 million adults — more than one in three American adults — have prediabetes. This is a diagnosis given to those with higher than normal blood sugar levels that are still beneath the threshold for diabetes. Among those who fail to lose weight and exercise, 15 to 30 percent of prediabetic people will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

To understand yogurt’s potential impact on diabetes, a team of researchers examined the results of three studies that followed the medical history and lifestyle habits of health professionals, including female nurses and male dentists, pharmacists, vets, osteopathic physicians, and podiatrists.

They found a high consumption of yogurt went hand in hand with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Precisely, they found one 28g serving of yogurt per day was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

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