Yoghurt summit stimulates further research

Thursday, 20 June, 2013

Evidence linking yoghurt consumption with improved health is growing, and additional research to support this is underway, scientists say.

The inaugural Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt brought together international nutrition experts, who presented the current state of the science on the health effects of yoghurt and identified research gaps that need to be addressed.

Experts discussed the need for studies that examine the specific health attributes of yoghurt, the optimal role of dairy foods in a healthy diet and the effect of yoghurt on specific populations, such as the young and the elderly.

“Current research on the potential impact of yoghurt on health is encouraging and we look forward to learning more about the unique contribution that yoghurt offers to individuals and overall public health,” said Sharon M Donovan, PhD, RD, Past President of the American Society for Nutrition and professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois.

“Our goal in this initiative is to document what we know and what we do not know to guide future research efforts.”

The summit is part of the multiyear Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative (YINI), a global collaboration between the American Society for Nutrition, Danone Institute International and the UK Nutrition Society to evaluate the current evidence base on the nutritional impact of yoghurt. The US-based Dairy Research Institute also partnered in the inaugural summit.

The initiative aims to stimulate new research and communicate available scientific information to healthcare professionals and the public. Much of what is known about yoghurt’s potential health effects comes from studies examining consumption of all dairy products, including milk and cheese. Fewer studies have focused on yoghurt specifically.

Several studies have reportedly shown that yoghurt consumption could aid in weight management, while consumption of cultured milk and yoghurt has been linked to a reduced risk of developing bladder cancer, a lower risk of heart attack and heart disease, and a decrease in blood pressure.

“We are energised by the summit and look forward to fostering more dialogue and sharing new research at future scientific events,” said Professor Raanan Shamir, MD, President of the Danone Institute International.

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