Eating yogurt may help protect against type 2 diabetes, a new British study suggests.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge found that people who ate on average four and a half servings of yogurt each week reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 28% compared to those who didn't eat any, according to WebMD.
Other forms of low-fat fermented dairy products, including low-fat cottage cheese and fromage frais, worked too. Eating those in addition to yogurt reduced the risk of diabetes by 24% compared to not eating such food items.
The data was drawn from the EPIC-Norfolk study, which includes more than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk. Some of the participants kept daily records of all of the food and drink consumed in the course of a week when they entered the study in the 1990s. Among these were 753 people who went on to develop type 2 diabetes over the next 11 years.
These diet diaries were compared to 3,502 other study participants selected at random. This allowed the researchers to examine the risk of diabetes in relation to how much dairy products people ate.
The study, which was published in the journal Diabetologia, doesn't claim that yogurt prevents diabetes. The authors say they simply saw an association, and that the yogurt-eaters may have had healthier lifestyles. For example, they found that replacing a serving of chips with a serving of yogurt reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 47%, suggesting that some of the protective effect may be attributed to avoiding unhealthy food.
However, if fermented dairy products do themselves cut the risk of diabetes, it could be due to the presence of probiotic bacteria and a form of vitamin K that is associated with fermentation, the scientists say.
And yes, the sugar in fro-yo probably cancels out any benefit.