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Lowering Diabetes Risk with Yogurt

When most people think about lowering their risk of type 2 diabetes, they consider losing weight, eliminating high sugar sources, and engaging in regular exercise. However, one study recently published in BMC Medicine suggests that reducing the likelihood that you would ever receive this diagnosis may be as simple as increasing your yogurt consumption.

A group of researchers looked at almost 200,000 people who took part in three different cohort studies which occurred between 1980 and 2010: the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, and the Nurses’ Health Study II. All of the participants involved were evaluated in regard to their food consumption habits as well as whether or not they developed type 2 diabetes during this particular timeframe.

While no correlation was found between dairy consumption as a whole and type 2 diabetes, researchers did find a relationship between yogurt consumption specifically and this diagnosis. This led the researchers to conclude that consuming at least one serving of yogurt per day as part of a “healthy dietary pattern” could actually lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 18%. Why? Probiotics.

Yogurt contains probiotic bacteria which is a healthy bacteria that your digestive system uses when processing the foods you eat. Unlike “bad” bacteria that you don’t want in your body, probiotics have been linked to many beneficial health qualities such as lower cholesterol levels, better lipid amounts, healthier levels of antioxidants, and even lower body weights.

Researchers point out that more studies are necessary to truly understand the impact that yogurt—and probiotics—have on a person’s body weight and blood sugar levels, and they are quick to remind their readers that it is often difficult to establish cause and effect. In other words, people who tend to eat yogurt are often healthier, thus it is hard to determine if it is the yogurt that is providing the benefits, or simply a healthy lifestyle.

In the meantime, engaging in healthy activities, such as eating nutritious food, getting regular exercise, and receiving regular chiropractic adjustments can help you obtain the highest level of health possible.

Chen M, Sun Q, Giovannucci E, et al. Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: 3 cohorts of US adults and an updated meta-analysis. BMC Medicine 2014;12(215).