The Potential Role of Yogurt in Weight Management and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes

J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Nov-Dec;35(8):717-731. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1102103. Epub 2016 Jun 22.


Yogurt is a semisolid fermented milk product that originated centuries ago and is viewed as an essential food and important source of nutrients in the diet of humans. Over the last 30 years, overweight and obesity have become characteristic of Western and developing countries, which has led to deleterious health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions. Recent epidemiological and clinical evidence suggests that yogurt is involved in the control of body weight and energy homeostasis and may play a role in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes partly via the replacement of less healthy foods in the diet, its food matrix, the effect of specific nutrients such as calcium and protein on appetite control and glycemia, and alteration in gut microbiota. This review will discuss the specific properties that make yogurt a unique food among the dairy products, epidemiological and clinical evidence supporting yogurt's role in body weight, energy balance, and type 2 diabetes, including its potential mechanisms of action and gaps that need to be explored. Key teaching points • Several epidemiological and clinical studies have suggested a beneficial effect of yogurt consumption in the control of body weight and energy homeostasis, although this remains controversial. • Yogurt possesses unique properties, including its nutritional composition; lactic acid bacteria, which may affect gut microbiota; and food matrix, which may have a potential role in appetite and glycemic control. • Potential mechanisms of action of yogurt include an increase in body fat loss, decrease in food intake and increase in satiety, decrease in glycemic and insulin response, altered gut hormone response, replacement of less healthy foods, and altered gut microbiota. • The relative energy and nutrient content and contribution of a standard portion of yogurt to the overall diet suggest that the percentage daily intake of these nutrients largely contributes to nutrient requirements and provides a strong contribution to the regulation of energy metabolism.

Keywords: appetite; body weight; glycemic control; type 2 diabetes; yogurt.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight Maintenance*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Health Promotion*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Probiotics
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Yogurt*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Insulin