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Study: Yogurt Consumption Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Risk reduced by 28% in consumers versus non-consumers (February 5)

New research published in Diabetologia suggests that higher consumption of yogurt, compared with no consumption, can reduce the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes by 28%. In addition, scientists at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. found that higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, which include all yogurt varieties and some low-fat cheeses, reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 24%.

The new research was based on data from a large study of men and women living in Norfolk, U.K. The investigators compared daily records of all the food and drink consumed over 1 week at the time of study entry among 3,502 participants. A total of 753 of these individuals developed new-onset type 2 diabetes over the 11-year follow-up period.

The consumption of total dairy, total high-fat dairy, or total low-fat dairy was not associated with new-onset diabetes once important factors such as healthier lifestyles, education, obesity levels, other eating habits, and total calorie intake were taken into account. Total milk and cheese intakes were also not associated with diabetes risk. In contrast, those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products (such as yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese) were 24% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the 11 years of follow-up compared with non-consumers.

When examined separately from the other low-fat fermented dairy products, yogurt, which makes up more than 85% of these products, was associated with a 28% reduced risk of developing diabetes. This risk reduction was observed among individuals who consumed an average of four and a half standard 125-gram servings of yogurt per week.

The authors state that while this type of study cannot prove that eating dairy products caused the reduced risk of diabetes, dairy products do contain beneficial constituents, such as vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium. In addition, fermented dairy products may exert beneficial effects against diabetes through probiotic bacteria and a special form of vitamin K (part of the menaquinone family) associated with fermentation.

Sources: Medical Xpress; February 5, 2014; and Diabetologia; February 2014.

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