Cambridge University scientists found that eating four and a half 125g pots of yoghurt per week could help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 28 per cent.
The study showed that higher consumption of other low-fat fermented dairy products, such as fromage frais and cottage cheese also protects against the disease.
Researchers followed daily records of all the food and drink consumed during a week by 4,255 participants, 753 of whom developed Type 2 diabetes over 11 years. They established that those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented products, such as yoghurt, fromage frais and low-fat cheeses, were 24 per cent less likely to become diabetic. Yoghurt alone was associated with a 28 per cent reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, with the most benefits found when consuming of four and a half standard pots a week.
Dr Nita Forouhi, from the university’s Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit said: “At a time when we have a lot of other evidence that consuming high amounts of certain foods, such as added sugars and sugary drinks, is bad for our health, it is very reassuring to have messages about other foods like yoghurt and low-fat fermented dairy products, that could be good for our health.”
Although the findings could suggest that those who eat yoghurt regularly simply had healthier lifestyles, the researchers say it was possible that probiotic bacteria and a special form of vitamin K provide the protection against diabetes.
The study was published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.