Study finds yogurt, other dairy foods associated with better cardiometabolic health

The consumption of yogurt and other dairy foods is associated with healthier dietary habits and cardiometabolic profile, according to a new study by University of Maine researchers.

The study by Georgina Crichton, Olivia Bogucki and Merrill Elias published in the International Dairy Journal explored the relationships among yogurt and other dairy foods, and dietary patterns, physiological measurements (body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, cholesterol) and lifestyle habits (smoking, physical activity).

Dairy foods, including yogurt, have been shown to have a beneficial impact on multiple markers of physical health. However, it is important to focus on overall dietary patterns to understand how eating habits affect health, according to the researchers.

The study assessed the relationship between yogurt and other dairy products to the consumption of other foods, and the association between these dietary patterns and markers of cardiometabolic health.

Crichton and colleagues found that participants who reported eating yogurt more regularly also ate more servings of fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish, and fewer servings of sweets, sugar-sweetened soda and alcohol. The data was used to calculate a yogurt-healthy-food eating score.

Participants with higher yogurt-healthy food scores had lower fasting plasma glucose levels and smaller waist circumferences. They also smoked fewer cigarettes and engaged in more physical activity. In addition, these participants were less likely to have metabolic syndrome abdominal obesity.

Causal relations cannot be inferred as the study was cross-sectional, but indicates that yogurt and other dairy foods, when consumed along with other heart-healthy foods, are associated with a more favorable cardiometabolic profile.

The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) provided the data for this research. Data collection was supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (grants no: R01HL67358 and R01HL81290) and a research grant from the National Institute on Aging (grant no: R01AG03055). The content of the paper does not necessarily reflect the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

The UMaine researchers on the project are Georgina Crichton, who is in private practice in Australia, and an adjunct research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology; Olivia Bogucki, a senior doctoral candidate in clinical psychology; and Merrill Elias, an emeritus professor of psychology and emeritus cooperating professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering.

Contact: Olivia Bogucki, or Merrill Elias,