February 6, 2014
Can Eating More Low-Fat Yogurt Lessen Type 2 Diabetes Risk?
[ Watch the Video: Eat More Yogurt To Lower Diabetes Risk ]
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe OnlineNew research has shown that regular consumption of low-fat yogurt can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the journal Diabetologia.
The study researchers found that a higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, which included some low-fat cheeses, cut the risk of type 2 diabetes onset by 28 percent and reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 24 percent overall.
Previous analyses on connections between dairy product usage and diabetes have had inconclusive findings, prompting scientists at the University of Cambridge in the UK to carry out this new investigation using a more detailed evaluation of dairy product intake than was done in previous efforts.
“This research highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and are relevant for public health messages,” said Dr. Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge.
The team reached their conclusion using the EPIC-Norfolk study, which included greater than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk, UK. The study included an in-depth analysis of daily food and drink records from over 750 people who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes over 11 years, along with over 3,500 randomly selected study participants. The analysis allowed the scientists to look at the risk of diabetes in terms of the intake of overall dairy products and also kinds of individual dairy products being eaten.
The intake of overall dairy, overall high-fat dairy or overall low-fat dairy was not connected with new-onset diabetes when confounding factors like healthier lifestyles, education, obesity levels, other consuming habits and overall calorie intake were considered. Overall, milk and cheese intakes were also not connected with diabetes risk. Those with the highest usage of low-fat fermented dairy products were 24 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the course of the study, compared with those who didn't eat the dairy products.
When considered separately from the other low-fat fermented dairy products, yogurt, which makes up greater than 85 percent of these products, was connected with a 28 percent decreased risk of getting diabetes. This risk reduction was seen among individuals who ate an average of four-and-a-half standard portions of yogurt per week. The same finding applied to other low-fat fermented dairy products such as low-fat non-fermented cheeses, like low-fat cottage cheese. The researchers also found that consuming yogurt in place of other snacks, like potato chips, also reduced the risk of establishing type 2 diabetes.
The authors noted the limitations of dietary research which depends on participants’ self-reports and not considering changes in diets over time. However, they noted that their study was large with long follow-up, and had a comprehensive assessment of people's diets that was gathered in real-time as people ate the foods, as opposed to relying on past memory.
The study team concluded that their study supplies robust evidence that intake of low-fat fermented dairy products is linked with a lowered risk of creating future type 2 diabetes.
“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,” Forouhi said.