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Pick Up a Spoon, Yogurt Consumption Linked to Lowered Diabetes Risk

Feb 07, 2014 03:57 PM EST
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Pick up your spoon, scientists at the University of Cambridge 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 type 2 diabetes by 24% overall.
(Photo : Flickr via Veganbaking.net)

Pick up your spoon, scientists at the University of Cambridge 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 type-2 diabetes by 24 percent overall.

"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," commented lead scientist Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, in a statement.

While dairy products are an important source of protein, vitamins and minerals, they also contain saturated fat, which doctors advise against consuming in high quantities.

The research was based on a study of more than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk, UK. It compared a detailed daily record of all the food and drink consumed a week by 753 people who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes with 3,502 randomly selected study participants over an 11 year follow up period. This allowed the researchers to examine the risk of diabetes in relation to the consumption of total dairy products and also types of individual dairy products.

Once factors such as lifestyle, education, obesity level, other eating habits and total calorie intake were taken into account, researchers found that consumption of total dairy, high-fat or low-fat, was not associated with new-onset diabetes. In contrast, "those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products (such as yogurt, fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese) were 24 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the 11 years, compared with non-consumers," according to a press release announcing the study.

Forouhi stated that "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 yogurt and low-fat fermented dairy products, that could be good for our health."

"While this type of study cannot prove that eating dairy products causes the reduced diabetes risk, 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," the press release clarified.

The research was published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes).

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