The FDA suggests that consuming this material may potentially reduce the risk of diabetes.

Food manufacturers are now allowed to advertise that regular yogurt consumption might reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This decision, announced on Friday, was prompted by a petition submitted in 2018 by Danone North America, the company behind popular brands such as Dannon, Activia, Wallaby Organic, and Silk. The FDA agreed not to object to the claim, provided that any communication to consumers includes a note acknowledging limited evidence and specifying that consuming two cups (three servings) of yogurt per week is the threshold for reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Danone’s petition, part of the FDA’s “qualified health claims” process, highlighted the nutrient profile of proteins, vitamins, and low sodium in yogurt, along with studies supporting the connection between regular yogurt consumption and a decreased risk of diabetes and related conditions. The FDA’s decision emphasized that yogurt’s health benefits are attributed to the food as a whole rather than any single nutrient or compound, regardless of its fat or sugar content.

The variability in sugar and fat levels in yogurt was acknowledged, with warnings from health authorities about flavored yogurts often being high in added sugars. Research has consistently shown a link between high added sugar consumption and an elevated risk of Type 2 diabetes. Supporting evidence for yogurt’s health benefits includes a 2022 study indicating that fermented dairy products, particularly yogurt, may offer protection against Type 2 diabetes development. Yogurt is also a component of the Mediterranean diet, associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, as suggested by a 2020 study. However, not all studies have found a definitive link between dairy consumption and the disease.

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, who provided scientific input to Danone during the petition process, commended the FDA’s decision, noting the growing evidence supporting the health benefits of fermented yogurt. However, he emphasized the need to avoid marketing food as a cure or prevention for diseases, as this would classify it as a drug and pose regulatory challenges for the industry and the FDA.

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