Thursday, 27 November 2014

Another Benefit of Yogurt - Reducing the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Yogurt has the reputation of being a very healthy food, especially in its plain, unsweetened form. It gives us the helpful nutrients found in dairy foods and also contains bacteria known as probiotics. Some of these bacteria can survive in our intestine, where they are thought to have beneficial effects. Now researchers have found evidence suggesting that yogurt has another benefit. It seems to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a disorder in which the body's cells become resistant to insulin's effects or in which not enough insulin is made to satisfy the body's requirements. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that triggers glucose in the blood to enter the cells and supply them with energy. Blood glucose is also known as blood sugar. The glucose comes from the digestion of food. When insulin can't do its job, blood sugar may rise to a dangerous level and cause multiple health problems. Unfortunately, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined data collected from people involved in the following surveys: the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (41,497 people), the Nurses Health Study (67,138 people) and the Nurses Health Study ll (85,884 people). There were actually additional people involved in each of the three surveys, but some weren't included in the diabetes project due to the presence of certain health problems or the fact that they didn't give any information about their dairy consumption. Still, the number of people in the study was sufficiently large to give some credence to the results.

By analyzing the data, the researchers made the following discoveries.
  • Total dairy consumption was unrelated to type 2 diabetes risk
  • There was no link between the consumption of whole milk, skim milk or cheese with diabetes.
  • People who regularly ate yogurt had a lower risk of developing diabetes.
  • After looking at the results of other published studies as well as the results of their own study, the researchers concluded that eating 28 grams of yogurt a day is linked to an eighteen percent reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, using stress reduction techniques, getting adequate sleep and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake give the best chance for health. However, in a busy life it can sometimes seem overwhelming to succeed in all these areas. It's nice that a simple act like eating yogurt seems to give us significant help in preventing type 2 diabetes. However, we should be aware that very unhealthy habits - such as following a diet that is extremely poor apart from yogurt consumption - may negate the beneficial effect of the yogurt.