The research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed eating 12 ounces of low-fat yogurt a day reduced several biomarkers of inflammation in both normal-weight and obese premenopausal women.
One of the team of researchers, Bradley Bolling, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Food Science, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said while dairy has been perceived by some consumers to contribute to inflammation, the new research suggests that the opposite.
"We found that women were able to reduce biomarkers associated with chronic inflammation, possibly due to improving digestive health, simply by eating 1.5 servings of low-fat yogurt per day," Bolling said.
Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
The study is the first randomized, controlled clinical trial to provide data indicating specifically that regular, low-fat yogurt consumption reduces the disease biomarkers (i.e., a measurable presence) of inflammation in women.
This is significant because chronic inflammation can contribute to metabolic conditions and a host of related diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all leading public health issues.
The researchers said the findings are consistent with a body of observational research that shows dairy foods, regardless of fat level, are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The nine-week study observed 120 women (60 obese, 60 non-obese), aged 21-55, who were randomly assigned to eat either 339 g of low-fat yogurt (about 12 ounces) or 324 g of non-dairy pudding.
There were no caloric restrictions, and the subjects were instructed to follow their regular diet and limit their consumption of fermented foods and probiotics during the study.
The study was funded by the National Dairy Council (NDC).