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Yogurt News You Can Use

September 26, 2011 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Yogurt is a historically revered food that I recommend to virtually all of my clients, family and friends. The primary reason is that the scientific literature consistently reveals varied health benefits associated with the use of this cultured, probiotic-rich product. In the past several months alone, peer-reviewed studies report that the regular use of yogurt reduces:  a) the levels of harmful bacteria that promote dental decay and periodontal disease in the mouths of children; b) the risk of premature birth in women with bacterial vaginosis and preeclampsia (high blood pressure) in first time mothers; c) the likelihood of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal complaints relating to antibiotic use; d) the incidence of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome according to intervention trials and large population studies.

It’s also important to note that yogurt is now a viable option regardless of which diet you choose to follow. There are fat free, low fat and whole milk options available. Those with cow’s milk allergies or sensitivities can opt for goat’s or sheep’s milk yogurt. Even vegans can enjoy almond, coconut or soy milk based yogurts that are now commonly available in many health food stores. My personal favorite is organic, unsweetened Greek yogurt, which is naturally higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. To this creamy treat, I add a few dried cranberries or dates or no-sugar added fruit preserves and a handful of raw pecans or walnuts. Not only is does this make for a delicious and satisfying breakfast or snack, but I’m also aware that it’s supporting my good health from my mouth on down.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – The Effects of Short-Term Consumption of Commercial Yogurt On … (link)

Study 2 – Comparative Efficacy of Probiotic Yoghurt and Clindamycin (link)

Study 3 – Intake of Probiotic Food and Risk of Preeclampsia in Primiparous … (link)

Study 4 – Probiotic Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria in a Fermented Milk Product (link)

Study 5 – Dairy Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis … (link)

Study 6 – Effect of Probiotic Yogurt Containing Lactobacillus Acidophilus and (link)

Study 7 – Effect of Functional Yogurt NY-YP901 in Improving the Trait of (link)

Beneficial Functions Performed By Probiotics

Source: Biologics. 2011;5:71-86. Epub 2011 Jul 11. (link)

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition

13 Comments & Updates to “Yogurt News You Can Use”

  1. k2c Says:

    JP, I’m always impressed when I visit your blog. Your articles are excellent, always explained with studies and lots of great information! I have switched to buying plain greek yogurt, I love it and it’s so healthy compared to some of the others. It’s not organic, of course organic is always so much better. I like mine with lemon juice and honey, or with organic apple butter, no sugar or other junk added. Thanks for all you do!

  2. JP Says:

    Many thanks, K2C! 🙂

    Be well!


  3. Kate Brown Says:

    Nice article! I eat plain greek yogurt everyday. It keeps me full, it’s high in protein, and it’s a great breakfast on the go.

  4. Bea Says:

    I was talking to a member of our ICF group tonight and she had a bad bacterial infection since Sept (became pneumonia!)She is still not feeling good. How can she build up her immune system? Thanks for our recommendations! FYI – she is in her late 60’s early 70’s?

  5. JP Says:

    Hi, Bea.

    One of the first things I’d recommend is having her Vitamin D levels tested by her doctor. Maintaining optimal Vitamin D status is sometimes challenging, but essential for proper immune function.


    Also, supplementing with a good probiotic and/or eating kefir and yogurt may help to re-establish the healthy bacteria that were likely lost during her recent course of antibiotics.


    There are many other options available. However, I believe these options are a good place to start.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Update 07/09/15:


    Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113(S2):S131-S135.

    Fermented dairy food and CVD risk.

    Fermented dairy foods such as yoghurt and cheese are commonly found in the Mediterranean diet. Recent landmark research has confirmed the effect of the Mediterranean diet on reducing the CVD risk, but the relative contributions of fermented dairy foods have not been fully articulated. The present study provides a review of the relationship between fermented dairy foods consumption and CVD risk in the context of the whole diet. Studies show that people who eat healthier diets may be more likely to consume yoghurt, so there is a challenge in attributing separate effects to yoghurt. Analyses from large population studies list yoghurt as the food most negatively associated with the risk of weight gain (a problem that may lead to CVD). There is some suggestion that fermented dairy foods consumption (yoghurt or cheese) may be associated with reduced inflammatory biomarkers associated with the development of CVD. Dietary trials suggest that cheese may not have the same effect on raising LDL-cholesterol levels as butter with the same saturated fat content. The same might be stated for yoghurt. The use of different probiotic cultures and other aspects of study design remain a problem for research. Nevertheless, population studies from a range of countries have shown that a reduced risk of CVD occurs with the consumption of fermented dairy foods. A combination of evidence is necessary, and more research is always valuable, but indications remain that fermented dairy foods such as cheese and yoghurt are integral to diets that are protective against CVD.

    Be well!


  7. JP Says:

    Updated 06/09/16:


    Nutrients 2016, 8(6), 344

    The Effects of an Olive Fruit Polyphenol-Enriched Yogurt on Body Composition, Blood Redox Status, Physiological and Metabolic Parameters and Yogurt Microflora

    In the present study we investigated the effects of an olive polyphenol-enriched yogurt on yogurt microflora, as well as hematological, physiological and metabolic parameters, blood redox status and body composition. In a randomized double-blind, crossover design, 16 (6 men, 10 women) nonsmoking volunteers with non-declared pathology consumed either 400 g of olive fruit polyphenol-enriched yogurt with 50 mg of encapsulated olive polyphenols (experimental condition—EC) or 400 g of plain yogurt (control condition—CC) every day for two weeks. Physiological measurements and blood collection were performed before and after two weeks of each condition. The results showed that body weight, body mass index, hip circumference and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly (p < 0.05) following the two-week consumption of yogurt regardless of condition. A tendency towards significance for decreased levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (p = 0.06) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (p < 0.05) following two weeks of polyphenol-enriched yogurt consumption was observed. The population of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and production of lactate in yogurt were significantly enhanced after addition of olive polyphenols, contrary to the population of yeasts and molds. The results indicate that consumption of the polyphenol-enriched yogurt may help individuals with non-declared pathology reduce body weight, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol levels and lipid peroxidation, and promote growth of beneficial LAB. Be well! JP

  8. JP Says:

    Updated 07/29/16:


    J Nutr. 2016 Jul 27.

    Intake of High-Fat Yogurt, but Not of Low-Fat Yogurt or Prebiotics, Is Related to Lower Risk of Depression in Women of the SUN Cohort Study.

    BACKGROUND: Yogurt and prebiotic consumption has been linked to better health. However, to our knowledge, no longitudinal study has assessed the association of yogurt and prebiotic consumption with depression risk.

    OBJECTIVE: We longitudinally evaluated the association of yogurt and prebiotic consumption with depression risk in a Mediterranean cohort.

    METHODS: The SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project is a dynamic, prospective cohort of Spanish university graduates. A total of 14,539 men and women (mean age: 37 y) initially free of depression were assessed during a median follow-up period of 9.3 y. Validated food-frequency questionnaires at baseline and after a 10-y follow-up were used to assess prebiotic (fructans and galacto-oligosaccharide) intake and yogurt consumption (<0.5, ≥0.5 to <3, ≥3 to <7, and ≥7 servings/wk). Participants were classified as incident cases of depression when they reported a new clinical diagnosis of depression by a physician (previously validated). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate HRs and 95% CIs.

    RESULTS: We identified 727 incident cases of depression during follow-up. Whole-fat yogurt intake was associated with reduced depression risk: HR for the highest [≥7 servings/wk (1 serving = 125 g)] compared with the lowest (<0.5 servings/wk) consumption: 0.78 (95% CI: 0.63, 0.98; P-trend = 0.020). When stratified by sex, this association was significant only in women (HR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.50, 0.87; P-trend = 0.004). Low-fat yogurt consumption was associated with a higher incidence of depression (HR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.65; P-trend = 0.001), although this association lost significance after the exclusion of early incident cases, suggesting possible reverse causation bias. Prebiotic consumption was not significantly associated with depression risk.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that high consumption of whole-fat yogurt was related to a lower risk of depression in women of the SUN cohort. No association was observed for prebiotics. Further studies are needed to clarify why the yogurt-depression association may differ by fat content of the yogurt.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 09/30/16:


    Vopr Pitan. 2016;85(1):56-65.

    [Yogurt consumption and reduced risk of overweight and obesity in adults].

    Fermented dairy products comprise a large food group in Russia and are an important source of dietary nutrients like protein, calcium, fat. Obesity is a rising public health issue in Russia. Observing the role of fermented dairy in the maintenance of healthy weights is important. Current study objective was to explore the association between obesity/overweight prevalence and yogurt consumption in Russian adults. Data from RLMS-HSE 1994-2012 was used. Primary materials are available on http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/rlms-hse, http://www. hse.ru/org/hse/rlms. Data collected included dietary intake by single 24h recalls and anthropometric measures for 72.400 adults (≥ 19 y.o.). Logistic regression models were used to explore the relationships between yogurt consumption and obesity prevalence (BMI > 30.0 compared with. 18.5-25.0), controlling for age and gender. Daily average intake (g/day) of yogurt significantly increased from 1994 to 2012. Yogurt consumption decreased over 40 y.o. in both gender. Women yogurt consumption is inversely correlated with the magnitude of the BMI: the consumption of yogurt in women with normal BMI values (> 18.5-25.0) was significantly higher than in women who are overweight and/or obese (BMI > 25.0; or > 30.0). The mean values of BMI in women who ate yogurt, were significantly lower than in women not consuming yogurt. In men, the relationship between consumption of yogurt and BMI is not revealed. Thus, among women, a significant inverse association was observed between yogurt consumption and obesity (OR 0.582, CI 95% 0.497, 0.680; p < 0.001). The observed association between yogurt intake and prevalence of obesity is dependent on gender: yogurt is associated with lower obesity prevalence only in women. Be well! JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 01/06/17:


    J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Dec 29.

    Associations between Both Lignan and Yogurt Consumption and Cardiovascular Risk Parameters in an Elderly Population: Observations from a Cross-Sectional Approach in the PREDIMED Study.

    BACKGROUND: The study of dietary patterns is gaining interest. Although the health benefits of yogurt and lignans have been investigated separately, to our knowledge there are no studies on their associative effects.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate a possible association between yogurt and lignans using biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in an elderly population.

    DESIGN: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the association between baseline dietary information and cardiovascular risk parameters using food frequency questionnaires.

    PARTICIPANTS: We enrolled 7,169 Spanish participants of the PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) study (elderly men and women at high cardiovascular risk) from June 2003 to June 2009.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cardiovascular risk parameters, including cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, body mass index, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure were measured.

    STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: General linear models were used to assess the relationship between categorical variables (yogurt, total dairy intake, lignans, and yogurt plus lignans) and cardiovascular risk parameters.

    RESULTS: The consumption of either yogurt or lignans seems to have beneficial effects on human health, but the consumption of both showed greater improvement in some cardiovascular health parameters. Indeed, participants with a higher consumption of both yogurt and lignans showed lower total cholesterol (estimated β-coefficients=-6.18; P=0.001) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (β=-4.92; P=0.005). In contrast, participants with lower yogurt and lignan consumption had a higher body mass index (β=0.28; P=0.007) and weight (β=1.20; P=0.008).

    CONCLUSIONS: High lignan and yogurt consumption is associated with a better cardiovascular risk parameters profile in an elderly Mediterranean population. Further research is warranted to determine the mechanisms and consequences of this potential effect.

    Be well!


  11. JP Says:

    Updated 01/23/17:


    J Dermatol Sci. 2017 Jan 6.

    Yogurt consumption in infancy is inversely associated with atopic dermatitis and food sensitization at 5 years of age: A hospital-based birth cohort study.

    BACKGROUND: Several studies have suggested that habitual yogurt consumption is associated with favorable outcomes for health issues in children. However, the effects of yogurt consumption on allergic diseases and sensitization in children remain poorly understood.

    OBJECTIVE: This prospective birth cohort study aimed to investigate for associations between habitual yogurt consumption in infancy and development of allergic diseases/sensitization at 5 years of age.

    METHODS: Data were obtained from the Tokyo Children’s Health, Illness and Development (T-CHILD) study. A total of 1550 children were born to the recruited women. Consumption of yogurt by children during infancy was determined by using questionnaires completed at 12 months of age. Outcome data for children were collected from the questionnaires and medical check-ups completed at 5 years of age. Possible associations between habitual yogurt consumption in infancy and allergic diseases/sensitization were analyzed by multiple logistic regression analyses.

    RESULTS: We analyzed the data for 1166 children whose parents responded at 5 years of age. Habitual yogurt consumption in infancy and atopic dermatitis at 5 years of age were significantly associated (UKWP criteria: aOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.51-0.97; P=0.03). Children with habitual yogurt consumption in infancy were less likely to be sensitized to food allergens (aOR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.31-0.93; P=0.03), but no associations were seen in regard to any other allergens.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that habitual consumption of yogurt in infancy has the potential to prevent development of atopic dermatitis and food sensitization, but not other allergic diseases, at 5 years of age.

    Be well!


  12. JP Says:

    Updated 02/17/17:


    Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2016 Oct 1;18(11):e39870.

    The Effect of Probiotic Yogurt on Constipation in Pregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Probiotics can alter the colonic microbiota and might improve bowel function.

    OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the consumption of yogurt, enriched with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus 4.8 × 1010 (CFU) on the symptoms of constipated pregnant women.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: This triple-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted on 60 constipated pregnant women who were diagnosed by the ROME III criteria in Tabriz, Iran from December 2014 to July 2015. Participants were randomly put into two groups including the treatment and the control group through block randomization. The treatment group received 300 g of yogurt enriched with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus 4.8 × 1010 colony forming units (CFU) (n = 30) while the control group received conventional yogurt (n = 30) for 4 weeks. The defecation frequency, stool consistency, straining during defecation, sensation of anorectal obstruction, sensation of incomplete evacuation and manual manoeuvres to facilitate defecation were primary outcomes while the amount of defecation, stool colure, and quality of life were secondary outcomes.

    RESULTS: The frequency of defecation was increased from 2.1 (0.8) at baseline to 8.3 (4.4) in the probiotic yogurt group vs. 2.3 (0.7) at baseline to 8.1 (4.3) in the conventional yogurt group at the end of 4th week. These results were based on the repeated measure ANOVA test and there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups (mean difference: 0.1; Confidence Interval 95%: -1.4 to 1.7; P = 0.872). Constipation symptoms including straining, anorectal obstruction, manipulation to facilitate defecation, consistency of stool and color of stool were improved significantly (P < 0.05) in both groups. In addition, the amount of defecation was significantly increased in both groups (P < 0.05), while incomplete evacuation was significantly reduced in the treatment group (P = 0.01). There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in the mean scores of physical (P = 0.726) and mental (P = 0.678) aspects of quality of life after the intervention with the adjusting of baseline scores. CONCLUSIONS: Consumption of 300 g/day probiotic and conventional yogurt can play a role in improving the symptoms of constipation during pregnancy. Be well! JP

  13. JP Says:

    Updated 05/25/17:


    Osteoporos Int. 2017 May 1.

    Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults.

    In this cohort of community dwelling older adults (>60 years), we observed significant positive associations between the frequencies of yogurt intake with measures of bone density, bone biomarkers, and indicators of physical function. Improving yogurt intakes could be a valuable health strategy for maintaining bone health in older adults.

    INTRODUCTION: The associations of yogurt intakes with bone health and frailty in older adults are not well documented. The aim was to investigate the association of yogurt intakes with bone mineral density (BMD), bone biomarkers, and physical function in 4310 Irish adults from the Trinity, Ulster, Department of Agriculture aging cohort study (TUDA).

    METHODS: Bone measures included total hip, femoral neck, and vertebral BMD with bone biochemical markers. Physical function measures included Timed Up and Go (TUG), Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale, and Physical Self-Maintenance Scale.

    RESULTS: Total hip and femoral neck BMD in females were 3.1-3.9% higher among those with the highest yogurt intakes (n = 970) compared to the lowest (n = 1109; P < 0.05) as were the TUG scores (-6.7%; P = 0.013). In males, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP 5b) concentrations were significantly lower in those with the highest yogurt intakes (-9.5%; P < 0.0001). In females, yogurt intake was a significant positive predictor of BMD at all regions. Each unit increase in yogurt intake in females was associated with a 31% lower risk of osteopenia (OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.49-0.96; P = 0.032) and a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis (OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.42-0.89; P = 0.012) and in males, a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis (OR 0.48; 95% CI 0.24-0.96; P = 0.038). CONCLUSION: In this cohort, higher yogurt intake was associated with increased BMD and physical function scores. These results suggest that improving yogurt intakes could be a valuable public health strategy for maintaining bone health in older adults. Be well! JP

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