While dietary recommendations support the consumption of dairy products as part of a well-balanced diet, new research says that eating yogurt in particular doesn't actually improve our health.
For years, scientists have stated the benefits of eating yogurt on a regular basis, although its effectiveness has never been proven. In fact, until now, few studies have specifically examined the relationship between regular yogurt intake and health-related quality of life (HRQL).
However, a team of Spanish scientists decided to change this. They wanted to find out once and for all whether there is actually a link between eating yogurt on a daily basis and the physical and mental improvement in HRQL in the adult population.
During the study, which lasted 3.5 years, the team followed more than 4,000 participants. Regrettably for yogurt-lovers, the product was not linked to HRQL.
Furthermore, study results also showed no definite link for individuals who had not been diagnosed with any illnesses, who had never smoked and who followed a Mediterranean diet. They pointed this out because it was originally thought that people without any risk factors could disrupt the relationship currently under review.
"In comparison with people that did not eat yogurt, those who ate this dairy product regularly did not display any significant improvement in their score on the physical component of quality of life, and although there was a slight improvement mentally, this was not statistically significant," lead author Esther López-García said in a statement.
So why exactly do many people believe that yogurt is beneficial to our health? While no studies have definitively proven its effectiveness, some have suggested that the consumption of yogurt could directly or indirectly influence our HRQL.
For example, yogurt is rich in calcium, which protects the bones and could help to combat osteomuscular illnesses, one of the conditions with greatest negative impact on quality of life. Also, more specifically, eating yogurt has been associated with lesser weight increase, lower blood pressure and a lower rate of cardiovascular diseases.
The new study seemingly contradicts such previous research that has linked regular yogurt consumption to a slew of health benefits. But that does not mean you have to give up your love of yogurt.
"For future research more specific instruments must be used which may increase the probability of finding a potential benefit of this food," López-García noted.
The findings are described in more detail in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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