The effects of dairy consumption on the prevention of type 2 diabetes remain controversial and depend on the dairy subtype. Yogurt intake has received special attention because its association with health benefits is more consistent than that of other types of dairy products. In the present article, we review those observational studies that evaluated the association between yogurt consumption and type 2 diabetes. We also discuss the possible mechanisms involved in these associations. We found that 13 prospective studies evaluated the association between yogurt intake and type 2 diabetes, most of which showed an inverse association between the frequency of yogurt consumption and the risk of diabetes. In addition to the scientific evidence accumulated from individual prospective studies, several meta-analyses have shown that yogurt consumption has a potential role in diabetes prevention. The most recent analysis shows a 14% lower risk of type 2 diabetes when yogurt consumption was 80-125 g/d compared with no yogurt consumption. The intake of fermented dairy products, especially yogurt, has been inversely associated with variables of glucose metabolism. Yogurt may have probiotic effects that could modulate glucose metabolism. We conclude that yogurt consumption, in the context of a healthy dietary pattern, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in healthy and older adults at high cardiovascular risk. Large-scale intervention studies and randomized clinical trials are warranted to determine if yogurt consumption has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: dairy; fermented dairy products; insulin sensitivity; type 2 diabetes; yogurt.
© 2017 American Society for Nutrition.