A SMALL pot of yoghurt every other day cuts the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by more than a quarter, new research claims.
Consuming an average of four and a half standard 125g pots of yoghurt per week reduced the risk of getting the disease in the future by 28 per cent, Cambridge University scientists found.
And higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, which include all yoghurt varieties and some low-fat cheeses, also reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 24 per cent overall.
Dr Nita Forouhi, of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the university, said: “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.”
He said the study helped provide robust evidence that consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, largely driven by yoghurt intake, is associated with a decreased risk of developing future type 2 diabetes.
Dr Forouhi added: “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 yoghurt and low-fat fermented dairy products that could be good for our health.”
Dairy products are a source of high quality protein, vitamins and minerals but are also a source of saturated fat, so scientists advise not to eat them in large quantities and to opt for low-fat versions.
The research was based on the large European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (Norfolk) study, which includes more than 25,000 men and women.
It compared a detailed daily record of all the food and drink consumed over a week among 753 people who developed new-onset Type 2 diabetes over 11 years. This allowed the researchers to examine the risk of diabetes in relation to the consumption of total dairy products and types of individual dairy products. The consumption of total dairy, total high-fat dairy or total low-fat dairy, was not associated with new-onset diabetes once factors such as healthier lifestyles, education, obesity levels, other eating habits and total calorie intake were factored in.
In contrast, those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products such as yoghurt, fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese were 24 per cent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes over the 11 years, compared with non-consumers.
When examined separately from the other low-fat fermen- ted dairy products, yoghurt, accounting for more than 85 per cent of these products, was associated with a 28 per cent reduced risk of developing diabetes. Those who ate an average of 4.5 standard 125g pots of yog-hurt per week benefitted most.
The lower risk was also linked to other low-fat fermented products including cottage cheese.
The study said fermented dairy products may exert beneficial effects against diabetes through probiotic bacteria and a special form of vitamin K, associated with fermentation.
The study was published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.