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Yoghurt For Diabetes: Is It A Healthy Option?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which is widely prevalent worldwide. There are multiple emerging treatments for diabetes, and the management of the condition through lifestyle changes are especially challenging for both physicians and society.

According to a study, probiotics like yoghurt can have a lot of health benefits, including their usefulness for controlling glucose levels in people with diabetes or reducing the risk of the condition. [1]

In this article, we will discuss the association between yoghurt and diabetes and know if it is safe for diabetics. Take a look.

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Nutrients In Yoghurt

Yoghurt, including probiotic yoghurt, is a great source of protein and contains all the nine essential amino acids. [2]

According to the USDA, some of the vital nutrients in 100 g of yoghurt include: water (87.9 g), protein (3.47 g), calcium (121 mg), iron (0.05 mg), magnesium (12 mg), phosphorus (95 mg), potassium (155 mg), sodium (46 mg), zinc (0.59 mg), selenium (2.2 mcg), fluoride (12 mcg), folate (7 mcg), choline (15.2 mg), vitamin A (27 mcg), beta carotene (5 mcg) and other essential vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin K. [3]

What Is Probiotic Yoghurt?

Probiotics are live microorganisms which when consumed in adequate amounts provide a lot of health benefits to the body while yoghurt is a food produced by fermenting milk with the help of bacteria.

Probiotic bacteria help in the production of probiotic yoghurt. It contains both primary bacteria such as Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and other bacteria type like Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis. [1]

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You may wonder which among probiotic yoghurts and yoghurt is the best option. All yoghurt types that contain Streptococcus and Lactobacillus will fall under 'probiotic yoghurt'. The basic yoghurt which we usually get from the market or which we culture at home contains these two bacteria types and therefore, is recommended as part of healthy nutrition for managing and preventing diabetes and related complications like obesity.

Yoghurt And Diabetes

There are several ways in which yoghurt is linked to diabetes. They include:

1. May prevent diabetes

According to a study, yoghurt consumption can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14 per cent, when consumed 80-123 g per day, compared to no intake of yoghurt. The probiotic effects of yoghurt can help modulate glucose metabolism and reduce the risk of diabetes in both healthy and older adults. [4]

2. Low glycemic index

A study has shown that high yoghurt consumption is linked to a reduced risk of diabetes due to its low-glycemic index (GI) and low-glycemic load (GL). Around 92 per cent of plain yoghurts available have low GI (less than 55), compared to sweetened yoghurt, and the difference is not due to the higher sugar content, but due to the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio in plain yoghurt.

Therefore, replacing yoghurt with other carbohydrates and protein sources can help lower the GI and GL of the meal and may help prevent or manage diabetes. [5]

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3. May reduce inflammation

According to a study, yoghurt has anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of lactic-acid-producing bacteria or say yoghurt probiotics can help reduce inflammation of the pancreas, which is responsible for triggering diabetes and insulin resistance by damaging the pancreatic cells and obstructing the production of insulin. [6]

4. May lower cholesterol levels

Diabetes is linked to high cholesterol levels due to insulin-resistant fat cells that prevent the metabolism of glucose and increase fat levels in the body. According to a study, probiotics bacteria strains such as L acidophilus and B lactis have a greater ability to lower cholesterol levels in both diabetics and adults who are at increased risk of diabetes. [7]

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5. May improve antioxidant status

Oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis and progression of diabetes. A study talks about the antioxidative effects of probiotic foods like yoghurt. The study says that probiotic yoghurt can significantly improve fasting blood glucose and damage due to free radicals in people with diabetes. This can help in the management of diabetes and prevent related complications. [8]

How To Choose The Best Yoghurt For Diabetics?

To choose the best types of yoghurts, seeing the label of the products is very important. Many yoghurts available in the market have added sugars; choose yoghurt that contains 10-15 g of carbs and 9 g of sugar or less.

Best Diabetes-Friendly Yoghurt

Some of the best diabetes-friendly yoghurts include:

  • Greek yoghurt as it contains double the proteins of regular yoghurt.
  • Probiotic yoghurt as it contains added probiotic bacteria.
  • Lactose-free yoghurt
  • Plant-based yoghurt (those made from soy, cashew, oats, coconut milk, almond and flax).
  • Yoghurt made from the milk of goats and sheep is also a good option for diabetics as they are low in lactose and high in calcium.

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How To Enjoy Yoghurt

  • As dips for fruits or crackers.
  • Adding it to smoothies to add thickness to the drink.
  • Using it while baking cookies or cakes.
  • Can use it as a dessert by topping it with frozen berries or after a meal.
  • Condiment for pancakes or waffles.

Note: Keep all the ingredients low in sugar to get benefits.

To Conclude

Yoghurt can be a good snack for people with diabetes and can also be consumed as meals in place of some high protein or carb diets. Diabetics and healthy adults can benefit from yoghurt only if they consume it in adequate amounts.