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Yogurt may lower risk of diabetes

New research from the Harvard School of Public Health links daily consumption of yogurt with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

Remember the 89-year-old who liked yogurt so much he ate two cups, pleasing his mother very much? Ever since that 1977 Dannon commercial that helped blast yogurt into popularity, companies have been promoting the stuff’s health –promoting powers. Now they may have one more claim: new research linked eating a daily dose with an 18 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The Harvard study was published in the journal BMC Medicine and noted on “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,” said Dr. Frank Hu, senior researcher and professor at Harvard School of Public Health, in a release.

About 26 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes, and that number is growing, according to the study. The primary prevention of the disease “has become a public health imperative,” write the authors.

For their research, scientists analyzed the diet and incidence of diabetes among 41,436 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986 to 2010), 67,138 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2010) and 85,884 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2009). They found that one 28 gram serving of yogurt per day was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating skim milk and cheese, or total dairy consumption, did not seem to have an effect on developing the disease. The study’s authors suggest that probiotic bacteria may explain the inverse association between yogurt intake and the risk of diabetes.

Researchers did not investigate which specific brands of yogurt were best at beating diabetes, but they probably weren’t the ones that pack as much sugar per serving as a Snickers.

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