A study published in BMC Medicine shows that yogurt may help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. However, in the study other forms of dairy like milk and cheese, did not offer the same kind of protection as yogurt for diabetes risk.
The study examined data from 41,497 participants from the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study, which included male dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, osteopathic physicians, and podiatrists; 67,138 from the Nurses' Health Study; and 85,884 from Nurses' Health Study II. Participants were queried every two years about their dietary habits and followed for up to 30 years to determine their health outcomes.
More than 15,000 of the three studies' participants developed diabetes over the years. There was no correlation between dairy consumption and diabetes risk—with one exception: yogurt was linked to a significantly lower risk of diabetes. And this was true even after controlling for factors known to be linked to diabetes like body mass index (BMI) and diet. The researchers then pulled in data from previous studies to add to theirs, and calculated that 28 g of yogurt per day was linked to an 18% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
While the link between yogurt and lower type 2 diabetes risk isn't understood yet, the researchers have hypothesized that the probiotics found in yogurt may help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. This hypothesis needs to be tested in randomized clinical trials.