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J Nutr. 2017 Jul;147(7):1462S-1467S. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.240770. Epub 2017 Jun 14.

Yogurt Is a Low-Glycemic Index Food.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


High yogurt intake is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Although several mechanisms could explain this association, this paper addresses the glycemic and insulinemic impact of yogurt. There is evidence that low-glycemic index (GI) and low-glycemic load (GL) diets are associated with a reduced risk of T2DM. The 93 GI values for yogurt in the University of Sydney's GI database have a mean ± SD of 34 ± 13, and 92% of the yogurts are low-GI (≤55). The 43 plain yogurts in the database have a lower GI than the 50 sweetened yogurts, 27 ± 11 compared with 41 ± 11 (P < 0.0001). This difference is not explained by sugar, per se, but rather by the higher protein-to-carbohydrate ratio in plain yogurt. Although yogurt has a low GI, its insulinemic index (II) is higher than its GI. High insulin responses may be deleterious because hyperinsulinemia is associated with an increased risk of T2DM. Nevertheless, this may not be a concern for yogurt because, although its II is higher than its GI, the II of yogurt is within the range of II values for nondairy low-GI foods. In addition, mixed meals containing dairy protein elicit insulin responses similar to those elicited by mixed meals of similar composition containing nondairy protein. Because the GI of yogurt is lower than that of most other carbohydrate foods, exchanging yogurt for other protein and carbohydrate sources can reduce the GI and GL of the diet, and is in line with recommended dietary patterns, which include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, vegetable oils, and yogurt.


fermented dairy; glycemia; glycemic response; insulinemia; type 2 diabetes; yogurt

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Conflict of interest statement

Author disclosures: TMSW is part owner of and employed by Glycemic Index Laboratories, Inc. (GI Labs), a contract research organization. He has no financial interest in any intellectual property developed as a result of the research reported here, or of any other research conducted at GI Labs, nor any financial interest in the equity of Danone or of any other company that produces or sells food products or food ingredients. Travel expenses and an honorarium were received from Danone Institute for delivering a lecture on Fermented Dairy Intake in Relation to Glycemia and Insulinemia at the 4th International Yogurt Summit at the Experimental Biology Meeting in April 2016.

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