Many people worldwide are concerned about managing and preventing diabetes, and they often seek effective strategies to stay healthy, such as adjusting their diets and incorporating foods that could lower their risk of developing this chronic condition. Yogurt is a food that has been gaining attention as a possible aid in managing diabetes, giving hope to those trying to regulate their blood sugar levels through their dietary choices.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that food makers could safely claim that yogurt might help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. However, this news has sparked questions about how yogurt affects diabetes risk. People want to know if adding yogurt to their diet can help prevent or manage diabetes.

In this article, we will learn the details behind the FDA’s announcement and explore how incorporating yogurt into your diet could benefit those at risk of Type 2 diabetes. We will examine the scientific evidence supporting this claim, the specific conditions under which yogurt consumption may be beneficial, and provide practical advice for integrating yogurt into a diabetes-conscious diet.

Key Takeaways

Yogurt may have a role in reducing the risk of developing diabetes. This suggests that incorporating yogurt into a balanced diet could offer health benefits relevant to blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity.

The FDA’s position or guidelines regarding yogurt and its relation to diabetes risk reduction would provide authoritative insight into this claim. Understanding the FDA’s analysis can help determine the strength of the evidence supporting yogurt’s potential health benefits.

Yogurt’s nutritional profile, including high levels of protein, calcium, and probiotics, contributes to its overall health benefits. These nutrients can play a role in various aspects of health beyond just diabetes risk reduction.

Yogurt might contain specific components that positively affect insulin sensitivity, making it a potentially beneficial food for those looking to manage or prevent diabetes.

The probiotics found in yogurt are beneficial for gut health. They might also play a role in improving metabolic health, which can indirectly influence diabetes risk.

It is recommended that yogurt be included in a healthy and balanced diet. This approach maximizes yogurt’s potential health benefits without contributing to other health risks.

Scientific research and studies likely support the consideration of yogurt’s impact on diabetes risk reduction. These studies would examine the correlation between yogurt consumption and changes in diabetes risk among different populations.

Bowl of Yogurt

Yogurt is a dairy product produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. Making yogurt involves adding specific types of bacteria to milk, primarily Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. These bacteria consume the milk sugar (lactose) and convert it into lactic acid. The increased acidity causes the milk proteins to solidify, giving yogurt its distinctive tangy taste and creamy texture.

The process begins with pasteurizing the milk to kill any harmful bacteria. The bacterial cultures are added after cooling the milk to the fermentation temperature. The mixture is then kept at a controlled temperature to allow the bacteria to grow, ferment the lactose, and acidify the milk. This fermentation process can last for several hours, after which the yogurt is cooled to halt the fermentation, sometimes further strained to remove whey for a thicker consistency, and finally packaged for consumption.

Yogurt is renowned for its nutritional benefits, containing a variety of key nutrients:

Protein: Essential for muscle repair, bone health, and various bodily functions.

Calcium: Vital for bone health and function.

Vitamins: Particularly B vitamins (including B12 and riboflavin), crucial for energy production and maintaining the nervous system, and vitamin D in fortified varieties.

Probiotics: Live bacteria that can aid in gut health, improving digestion and immune function.

Phosphorus and Potassium: Important for bone health, metabolism, and blood pressure.

The specific nutrient content can vary depending on the type of milk used and any additional ingredients or fortifications.

Varieties of Yogurt and Their Health Benefits

There are several varieties of yogurt, each offering unique health benefits:

Plain Yogurt: This yogurt is made without added sugars, preserving the natural balance of sweetness and acidity from the milk. It is high in probiotics, which support gut health and digestion.

Greek Yogurt: Strained more times than regular yogurt to remove whey, resulting in a thicker consistency and higher protein content, making it ideal for muscle maintenance and satiety.

Icelandic Yogurt (Skyr): Similar to Greek yogurt but even thicker and higher in protein.

Low-fat and Non-fat Yogurt: These provide a lower-calorie option that is still high in protein and calcium and suitable for weight management.

Flavored and Sweetened Yogurt: Offers a variety of tastes but can contain added sugars. It’s important to check labels for sugar content.

Lactose-free Yogurt: Fermented longer to break down more lactose, making it suitable for those with lactose intolerance.

Plant-based Yogurt: This type of yogurt is made from non-dairy milks such as almond, coconut, soy, or oat. While not containing dairy, many are fortified with calcium, vitamins, and probiotics to offer similar health benefits.

Scientific Evidence Linking Yogurt to Diabetes Risk Reduction

Female eating yogurt

Studies have found a promising association between regular yogurt consumption and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Thirteen prospective studies have highlighted that those who consume yogurt as a part of their daily diet tend to have a lower risk of developing diabetes. 

According to research, consuming 80-125 grams of yogurt daily can lead to a 14% decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who do not consume yogurt. Yogurt is a rich source of probiotics, calcium, and other essential nutrients, which play a crucial role in this protective effect.

A meta-analysis of 14 studies from various countries, including the USA, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Australia, and Japan, found that for every 50 g (~2 ounces) increase in daily yogurt consumption, the risk of type 2 diabetes was reduced by 7%.

In addition, another study analyzing the dietary habits of 192,352 adults in the USA, included in three large prospective cohort studies, showed that increasing yogurt consumption by more than 0.5 servings/day was associated with an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes over four years

Probiotics may assist in regulating glucose metabolism and improving insulin sensitivity, while calcium contributes to maintaining optimal body weight and metabolic health. In short, incorporating yogurt as part of a healthy dietary pattern could be a simple and enjoyable way to protect against diabetes, thanks to its beneficial probiotics and nutrient content.

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The FDA’s Stance on Yogurt and Diabetes

Woman looking at yogurt bottle

On March 1, 2024, the FDA announced that food makers can safely advertise that yogurt may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, with some restrictions. The FDA has decided not to object to using certain qualified health claims related to the consumption of yogurt and reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, provided these claims are worded in a way that does not mislead consumers.

This announcement was made after Danone North America submitted a qualified health claim petition asking the FDA to review the evidence linking yogurt consumption with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. The FDA’s review found credible evidence supporting a relationship between yogurt intake and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes but noted limited evidence. Therefore, the FDA has agreed to use qualified health claims that reflect this limited evidence base.

For instance, the FDA considers the following claim acceptable: “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes according to limited scientific evidence.”

The FDA evaluates health claims based on the totality of publicly available scientific evidence. Health claims explicitly or implicitly characterize the relationship between a food, food component, or dietary supplement ingredient and a disease or health-related condition. To be authorized to use a health claim, the evidence must meet the standard of “significant scientific agreement.”

A qualified health claim may be considered when the evidence fails to meet this high standard but is still supportive. A qualified health claim must be accompanied by a disclaimer or qualification that accurately communicates the level of scientific support to consumers.

For the claim regarding yogurt and the reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, the FDA thoroughly reviewed the evidence submitted in the petition and other relevant scientific information. The agency determined that while some evidence supports a beneficial relationship, it cannot meet an authorized health claim standard. Therefore, the FDA allows using qualified health claims with appropriate wording to prevent consumer misinformation.

What is the Best Yogurt for Diabetics

According to Diatribe, Greek yogurt is often recommended for diabetic patients because it is processed in a way that reduces much of the lactose, making it a better choice for those who are lactose intolerant. It also helps stabilize blood glucose levels, combining carbs with protein or fat, slowing down the release of glucose into the blood. Due to their higher protein content, Icelandic, French, and Australian yogurts are good options. It’s advised to choose plain yogurts and add fresh fruit for sweetness to avoid added sugars. 

The key is to look for yogurts with live and active cultures, minimal added sugars (less than 10 grams is suggested), and a short ingredient list to ensure you choose the healthiest option for managing diabetes. For individuals with diabetes, choosing the right yogurt involves considering several factors to manage blood sugar levels effectively while obtaining nutritional benefits. Greek yogurt is often recommended due to its high protein content, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels. 

It is processed in a way that reduces most of the lactose, making it a suitable option for those with lactose intolerance as well. It’s important to select yogurts that are low in added sugars and have a short list of ingredients. Look for yogurts labeled with “live and active cultures” to ensure they contain beneficial bacteria that aid lactose digestion. 

To further prevent blood sugar spikes, it is advisable to opt for plain yogurt varieties and sweeten them with fresh fruits or chia seeds if desired. These guidelines can help individuals with diabetes enjoy yogurt as part of a balanced diet while maintaining good glycemic control.

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Final Thoughts

Incorporating yogurt into your diet could benefit those at risk of Type 2 diabetes. The FDA’s announcement and scientific evidence support the claim that consuming yogurt might help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Yogurt is a nutritious food that contains essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamins, and probiotics, making it a healthy addition to a diabetes-conscious diet. 

However, it’s important to choose low-sugar or sugar-free yogurt options and to be mindful of the serving size. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is recommended to determine the best approach to incorporate yogurt into a diabetes management plan.

FAQs On Yogurt And Diabetes

What brand of yogurt is best for diabetics?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best yogurt brand for diabetics may vary depending on individual needs and preferences. However, some brands that are considered diabetic-friendly include Chobani, Dannon, Yoplait, and Fage.

Is Activia yogurt good for diabetics?

Activia yogurt may be good for diabetics as it contains probiotics that can help improve gut health. However, choosing low-sugar or sugar-free varieties is important to avoid blood sugar spikes.

What is the best low-sugar yogurt for diabetics?

The best brands for diabetics include Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt, Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt, and YQ by Yoplait.

What is the best sugar-free yogurt for diabetics?

The best sugar-free yogurt brands for diabetics include Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt, Siggi’s No Added Sugar Yogurt, and Two Good Greek Yogurt.

Is Oikos Triple Zero yogurt good for diabetics?

Oikos Triple Zero yogurt may be a good option for diabetics as it is low in sugar and protein. However, checking the nutrition label and choosing the variety with the lowest sugar content is always important.

What is the best-frozen yogurt for diabetics?

The best frozen yogurt brands for diabetics include Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars, Enlightened Low-Calorie Frozen Yogurt, and Halo Top. Frozen yogurt can be a healthier alternative to ice cream for diabetics.

What is the best Greek yogurt for diabetes?

Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and low in sugar, making it a good option for diabetics. Some of the best Greek yogurt brands for diabetes include Fage Total 0%, Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt, and Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt.

What is the best sugar-free yogurt for diabetics?

Some of the best sugar-free yogurt brands for diabetics include Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt, Siggi’s No Added Sugar Yogurt, and Two Good Greek Yogurt.

What is the best yogurt for gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes requires careful management of blood sugar levels. Some of the best yogurt brands for gestational diabetes include plain Greek yogurt and low-fat yogurt with no added sugar.

Is Chobani yogurt good for diabetics?

Chobani yogurt may be a good option for diabetics as it is high in protein and low in sugar. However, it is important to choose plain or low-sugar varieties to avoid blood sugar spikes.

Is vanilla yogurt good for diabetics?

Vanilla yogurt can be a good option for diabetics as long as it is low in sugar. It is important to check the nutrition label and choose the variety with the lowest sugar content.

Is Yoplait yogurt good for diabetics?

Yoplait yogurt can be a good option for diabetics as long as it is low in sugar. It is important to check the nutrition label and choose the variety with the lowest sugar content.

Sources

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2024, March 1). FDA announces qualified health claim for yogurt and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-announces-qualified-health-claim-yogurt-and-reduced-risk-type-2-diabetes

Salas-Salvadó, J., Guasch-Ferré, M., Díaz-López, A., & Babio, N. (2017). Yogurt and Diabetes: Overview of Recent Observational Studies. The Journal of Nutrition, 147(7), 1452S-1461S.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022316622162917

Slurink, I.A.L., Voortman, T., Ochoa-Rosales, C., et al. (2022). Dairy product consumption in relation to incident prediabetes and longitudinal insulin resistance in the Rotterdam study. Nutrients, 14, 415.https://www.yogurtinnutrition.com/yogurt-consumption-is-associated-with-reduced-risk-of-type-2-diabetes-and-metabolic-syndrome/

Brown-Riggs, C. (2023, May 12). Which Yogurt Is Best for People With Diabetes? Retrieved from https://diatribe.org/which-yogurt-best-people-diabetes