A recent study entitled “Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis” suggests high yogurt intake might reduce the development of type 2 diabetes. The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is characterized by a deficient production of insulin (a peptide hormone produced by the pancreas) or by developing resistance to insulin, leading to higher than normal glucose levels in the blood, a condition known as hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern, with estimates of 552 million people suffering from this disease by the year 2030. Whether the consumption of dairy increases the risk for type 2 diabetes is still unknown. Here, a team of researchers from Harvard School of Public Health analysed three prospective cohort studies – the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study (HFPS), Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II). From each study, the authors reviewed the data for 41,436 men, 67,138 women and 85,884 women, respectively. Participants of each cohort studied completed a questionnaire determining their diet regimen and the occurrence of chronic disease. Patients who developed diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer were excluded from the analysis.
The authors registered 15,156 cases of individuals with type 2 diabetes. After adjusting the data according to age and body mass index (BMI) and life-style choices, the authors observed no association of total dairy consumption with risk to develop type 2 diabetes. However, when the team looked to individual dairy products, they found that high consumption of yogurt was associated with decreased risk to develop type 2 diabetes. This association was not observed with other individual dairy products, such as skimmed milk, cheese, whole milk. Additionally, they performed a meta-analysis of their results and other published data and found a pattern of 28g of yogurt per day resulted in a 18% decrease risk to develop type 2 diabetes.
Frank Hu, Harvard School of Public Health and study leading author noted, “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. The consistent findings for yogurt suggest that it can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern.”