One additional serving of yogurt per day was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dairy products are thought to be a staple of the average American diet. A new study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, examined how dairy consumption influenced the risk of type 2 diabetes. Overall, the researchers found that dairy consumption was not correlated with a change in risk, but yogurt seemed to have a beneficial effect.
A long-term health study with over 41,000 men and 67,000 women took data on diet, lifestyle, and health factors between 1980 and 2010. The data showed that, once other factors were accounted for, total dairy consumption was not associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. Even when focusing on consumption of low-fat or high-fat dairy, there was not a significant change in type 2 diabetes risk. However, yogurt had a consistent correlation. One additional serving of yogurt per day was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
According to the New York Times, the average yogurt consumption was four ounces per day. Benefits were seen when people ate an additional eight-ounce serving, or 12 ounces in total every day. Since this study was merely observational, the researchers cannot claim that yogurt has a preventive effect on diabetes. However, the lead author commented that there are special characteristics of yogurt. For example, the probiotic bacteria that yogurt contains may be beneficial.
WebMD reports that probiotics are organisms such as bacteria or yeast that are believed to improve health. It is believed that probiotic bacteria can help improve intestinal function and maintain the integrity of intestinal lining. Additionally, with hundreds of bacteria in the digestive system, probiotic bacteria may play a role in restoring or maintaining the balance that is necessary for digestive health.