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Could Yogurt Help Lower Your Risk of Getting Diabetes?

By    |   Friday, 26 Dec 2014 07:27 PM

Yogurt is a popular dairy product that contains live cultures created by bacterial fermentation. It is a good nutritional source of protein and "good bacteria" known as probiotics, which can help support gastrointestinal health. In addition to these benefits, researchers have recently determined that yogurt may also help lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, "In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes." In addition, 86 million Americans over the age of 19 were prediabetic.

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A recently published large sample study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health examined the relationship between the consumption of dairy products and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Previous studies have indicated that the vitamins, minerals, whey proteins, and certain fatty acids in dairy products may lower the risk of developing the disease. However, what researchers at Harvard discovered was that yogurt was the key dairy product that played a role in lowering this risk.

The Harvard study population of more than 150,000 participants included subjects from three cohort studies: The Health Professionals Followup Study of 1986, the Nurses' Health Study of 1976, and the Nurse's Health Study II of 1989. The ages of participants ranged from 25 to 75 years old. Initial baseline questionnaires about lifestyle, medical history, and diet were conducted in each study and administered thereafter on a biannual basis.

According to the Harvard study published by BMC Medicine, researchers concluded, "Higher intake of yogurt is associated with a reduced risk of T2D, whereas other dairy foods and consumption of total dairy are not appreciably associated with incidence of T2D."

According to Forbes, lead researcher Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, stated, “The mechanisms are not well understood at this point. One hypothesis is that the probiotics in yogurt may help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation, but this hypothesis needs to be tested in randomized clinical trials.”

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The Harvard study conclusion that yogurt may lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes simply adds to the list of health benefits attributed to the dairy product. These benefits range from gastrointestinal health and blood pressure regulation to weight management and a positive effect on depression.

According to U.S. News, yogurt also promotes bone health because it provides essential nutrients "such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and protein, which work together to promote strong, healthy bones."

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Researchers have recently determined that yogurt may help lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
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