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Lower Your Diabetes Risk With Yogurt

Four servings a week of the low-fat dairy product may protect you from this epidemic

BHM Edit Staff | 2/8/2014, midnight
Add yogurt to your grocery shopping list to avoid type 2 diabetes. depositphotos

Yogurt fiends, you have reason to celebrate (and the rest of us need to up our game): Eating low-fat versions of the fermented dairy product four or five times a week may lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at the diets of 4,000 people over an 11-year period and found those with the highest yogurt consumption—four and a half 4-ounce servings each week—had a 24 percent lower risk of developing diabetes, compared with people who didn’t eat yogurt.

Yogurt’s positive effect seems to stem partly from the fact that people who eat yogurt choose fewer unhealthy snacks, researchers say. Though the study found only an association between eating yogurt and a lowered risk of diabetes—not a cause-and-effect relationship—when a serving of chips was replaced with a serving of yogurt, the risk of developing diabetes dipped by 47 percent.

Increasing total dairy consumption won’t do the trick. Researchers found the benefit only in dairy products that contain a specific type of vitamin K and probiotics, both of which may protect against diabetes. Yogurt is one of those dairy products.

Diabetes, which occurs when blood glucose levels are above normal because the body cannot get the glucose into the cells to be used for energy, affects about 26 million people in this country. Being African American is its own risk factor for developing diabetes; nearly 20 percent of us 20 and older have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if we continue current trends, one out of every three adults in the U.S. will have diabetes by 2050.