Evidence for the effects of yogurt on gut health and obesity

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 May 24;57(8):1569-1583. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2014.883356.


Obesity is associated with increased risk for chronic diseases, and affects both developed and developing nations. Yogurt is a nutrient-dense food that may benefit individuals with lactose intolerance, constipation and diarrheal diseases, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Emerging evidence suggests that yogurt consumption might also improve the health of obese individuals. Obesity is often accompanied by chronic, low-grade inflammation perpetuated by adipose tissue and the gut. In the gut, obesity-associated dysregulation of microbiota and impaired gut barrier function may increase endotoxin exposure. Intestinal barrier function can be compromised by pathogens, inflammatory cytokines, endocannabinoids, diet, exercise, and gastrointestinal peptides. Yogurt consumption may improve gut health and reduce chronic inflammation by enhancing innate and adaptive immune responses, intestinal barrier function, lipid profiles, and by regulating appetite. While this evidence suggests that yogurt consumption is beneficial for obese individuals, randomized-controlled trials are needed to further support this hypothesis.

Keywords: Yogurt; bioactives; chronic disease; inflammation; intestine; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Appetite
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diet
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Probiotics / analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Yogurt / microbiology*


  • Immunoglobulin A