FDA Allows Yogurt Makers to Claim Their Products May Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk

A yogurt manufacturer that asked to be allowed to tout their product’s potential benefits against type 2 diabetes has been given approval to do so.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it won’t object to yogurt producers saying yogurt consumption may lower type 2 diabetes risk, provided those claims aren’t misleading. The decision came about after Danone North America petitioned the FDA to review the use of this health claim, which doesn’t have as strict requirements as a significant health agreement. This approval applies to all dairy-based yogurts, even Danone’s competition.

Yogurt cup with granola and blueberries

Amanda Blechman, director of health and scientific affairs at Danone North America, says the company submitted the petition in 2018 after noticing there was increasing evidence supporting this link. As part of their application, the company cited 32 different studies linking yogurt with a lower type 2 diabetes risk. None identified the specific cause, but they all found yogurt as a whole, not specific ingredients, seemed to carry these health benefits.

The FDA reviewed the research, finding that there is evidence supporting the link, but it is limited. There was also found to be a minimum amount of consumption needed to obtain this apparent benefit: three servings, or two cups, per week. As a result, companies may say that eating at least that specific amount of yogurt each week may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, “according to limited scientific evidence.” Alternatively, they can reference that the FDA has concluded there is limited information supporting this claim.

Yogurt shelf at grocery store

The FDA’s letter notes that during a 60-day comment period, one argument raised against the claim was that it may encourage the consumption of yogurt with a lot of added sugar, which could increase type 2 diabetes risk. While the research did show that the health benefits were found despite sugar or fat content, the FDA is encouraging “careful consideration” of use of this claim on products with high amounts of added sugar.

This health claim does not apply to non-dairy yogurts.

Probiotic fermented yogurt has also been linked with other health benefits, including improved gut health and immune system modulation.

Plain yogurt with raspberries
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