Yogurt-a-Day Keeps the Doctor Away?
The old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away is arguably true. Apples are one of nature’s great health foods. But there’s a new contender: yogurt. New research indicates that eating a yogurt a day may help keep the diabetes doctor at bay. That’s because a high intake of yogurt is associated with a significantly lower risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
To arrive at that conclusion, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data obtained from nearly 300,000 doctors, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, and other healthcare professionals— all of whom have been participating in longterm studies of lifestyle factors and the risk of chronic diseases. Some participants have been enrolled for decades. Together, they represent a treasure trove of information about the effects of diet on disease risk. Scientists have repeatedly mined these mounds of data for insights into various aspects of health.
By carefully examining diet and the incidence of disease in these groups, investigators showed that people who ate at least one ounce of yogurt per day enjoyed a statistically significant decreased risk of developing diabetes. The reduction in risk amounted to about 18%. Previous research has suggested that consumption of dairy products in general might help protect against diabetes, but yogurt, specifically, was linked to a lower likelihood of diabetes in this new study.
“We found that higher intake of yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas other dairy foods and consumption of total dairy did not show this association,” said senior researcher, Frank Hu, of Harvard School of Public Health. “The consistent findings for yogurt suggest that it can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern.”
Type 2 diabetes affects up to 366 million people around the world, and that number is expected continue climbing if present trends continue. Type 2 diabetes is a largely preventable “lifestyle” disease that responds to lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise, losing excess weight, and eating a healthier diet.
Mu Chen, Qi Sun, Edward Giovannucci, Dariush Mozaffarian, JoAnn E Manson, Walter C Willett, Frank B Hu. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC Medicine, 2014; 12 (1): 215 DOI: 10.1186/s12916-014-0215-1