Science & Nutrition

Eating yogurt may reduce type 2 diabetes risk: Cambridge study

06-Feb-2014 - By Mark Astley+
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Consuming four and a half standard pots of yogurt per week could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than a quarter, a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge has claimed.

A study conducted by scientists from the University of Cambridge’s Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit found that consuming an average of four and a half standard 125g pots of yogurt per week reduced the risk of new onset type 2 diabetes by 28% when compared to non-consumers.

Higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, such as yogurt, fromage frais, and low-fat cottage cheese, was found to reduce the future risk of type 2 diabetes by 24%, and substituting yogurt for crisps was “associated with 47% lower hazards of type 2 diabetes.”

Diabetes is a problem within your body that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal - a condition called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes, where the body does not use insulin properly, is the most common form of diabetes.

Dairy product intake has previously been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, said the study, Dietary dairy products intake and incident type 2 diabetes.

The research, which was detailed in Diabetologia, a European Association for the Study of Diabetes journal, “highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and are relevant for public health messages,” said lead scientist, Dr Nita Forouhi.

“ 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 yogurt and low-fat fermented dairy products that could be good for our health,” she added.

Study provides "robust evidence"

The University of Cambridge researchers sampled the EPIC-Norfolk study, a cohort of more than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk, England. They compared the seven day food diaries of 752 people who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes over 11 years of follow up, with 3,502 randomly selected study participants.

This method enabled the Cambridge University team to examine the risk of diabetes in relation to the consumption of total dairy products and also types of individual dairy products.

The researchers acknowledged that while the study cannot prove that eating dairy leads to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, it does “provide robust evidence” that consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products is associated with a decreased risk of developing the disease.

“Greater low-fat fermented product intake, largely driven by yogurt intake, was associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes development in prospective analyses,” said the study.

“These findings suggest that the consumption of specific dairy types may be beneficial for the prevention of diabetes, highlighting the importance of food group sub types for public health messages.”

Source: Diabetologia
Title: Dietary dairy products intake and incident type 2 diabetes.
Authors: L O’Connor, M Lentjes, R Luben, K Khaw, N Wareham, N Forouhi.

Related topics: Science & Nutrition, Dairy-based ingredients