Yogurts may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, says the US Food and Drug Administration. What do nutritionists think?

After nearly five years of deliberation, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that yogurts can now make a limited claim that they can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, CNN reports.

Controversial FDA decision related to yogurt – Photo Archive

The decision marks the first qualified health claim the federal agency has ever issued for yogurt. The claim is supported by scientific evidence, but not that rigorous, the FDA says.

“Consumption of yogurt regularly, at least three servings per week” can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, a disease that affects 462 million people worldwide, the federal agency says.

Rich in calcium, protein and vitamins

Yogurt is made from milk fermented with the bacteria or probiotics Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The food is rich in calcium, protein, B vitamins and minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Danone North America filed a petition in 2018 to be able to state on yogurt cups that the food can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The petition was accompanied by research, but Dr. Caroline Passerrello, a registered dietitian nutritionist and instructor in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, says it is limited and “not very strong”.

“The way the studies were done means we can't really say for sure that there is a causal relationship, but rather a correlation between type 2 diabetes and yogurt“, she added.

Controversial decision

Why would any sane person think that all you need to do to prevent type 2 diabetes is eat 2 cups of yogurt a week? All we can hope for is that the yogurt is at least unsweetened, but since it's very hard to find unsweetened yogurt, this tells people who want to avoid type 2 diabetes that sweetened yogurts are good for them ” said Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor Emeritus of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, according to the source cited.

It added that according to the federal agency's review of the studies, “the amount of sugar in the yogurt made no difference to the results. Therefore, according to the FDA, sugar is not a problem.

But high consumption of added sugar has just the opposite effect: it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, say several studies. In fact, the disease appears as a result of multiple factors, even if yogurt can be part of a healthy diet, “sexpecting yogurt itself to be associated with diabetes prevention does not make sense outside of the context of the diet as a whole“, said the specialist.

Previous studies show that limiting sugar consumption to 25 grams, or six teaspoons a day, helps maintain a low risk of diabetes.