Obesity and overweight are the major health hazard of this age. 39% of adults are overweight and 13% are obese.
Of late children as young as 5 or less are affected by it.
It leads to health problems like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardio-vascular diseases.
Eating healthy can prevent this. Yogurt is one such healthy eating component.
Conventional yogurt consists of 2.7% protein, less than 15% fat and 0.6% lactic acid.
It is milk fermented by Streptococcus thermophilus (sp) subsp. salivarius and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus.
How Does Yogurt help in Weight Loss?
Yogurt has a potential role in weight loss. It affects our body in multi-faceted ways.
1. Yogurt intake speeds up weight loss
An accumulation of data from a pool of studies showed that yogurt had a substantial effect on weight loss.
Data from 6 randomized trials showed the co-relation between weight loss & yogurt.
The accumulated data showcased a lower body mass index, reduced body weight, lower body fat, and reduced waist circumference.
However, the outcome of the trials wasn’t deliberate. There remained some inconsistency due to the lack of large scale trial.
In a women-based clinical study, it was found yogurt consumption reduced the body mass index and caused a lower rate of obesity.
This study demarcated that this effect increased with the increase of yogurt intake.
For 1 serving a day the effect was mild while for 3 servings a day the effect accelerated. It was coupled with increased calcium intake.
Recently, concluded a study on 34 obese patients illustrated the role of yogurt in weight loss.
An estimated 3 servings of yogurt (1100mg of calcium per day) daily for 12 weeks compared to a calcium diet of 400-500mg/day has a greater weight loss effect.
The yogurt group lost 61% more fat and 31% more lean body mass than the calcium-based diet. Thus, it proves not only calcium but other components of yogurt aids in weight loss.
What does this mean? This highlights the role of yogurt in weight loss. It is indeed effective in preventing obesity. The effects are manifested in results showing a reduced waist line, body fat, BMI and over-all loss in weight.
2. Yogurt is rich in lean protein
Yogurt is a high protein dairy product. High protein diet is proven to provide energy and simultaneously it stimulates fat burning.
High protein foods like yogurts have higher absorptive and digestive capabilities.
They help in weight management, in maintaining the lean body mass, intestinal calcium absorption and regulation of glucose blood level factors (glycemic factors) (Read 7 Reasons Why Dairy Products Are Good For Weight Loss)
What does this mean? Yogurt is a rich source of quality protein. High protein diets speed up weight loss by raising metabolism, burning fat and supporting muscle mass development.
3. Yogurt is a good source of calcium which helps in weight loss
Yogurt has a high protein content and a greater amount of bio-available calcium.
This benefits to bone health during weight loss.
Consumption of yogurt has shown a remarkable loss of body fat and total volume over time. This is manifested by decreased waistline and BMI.
A high calcium diet attenuates body fat and prevents fat accumulation. It stimulates fat break down and regulates metabolism in the adipocytes (fat cells). Yogurt, a calcium-rich supplement plays the same role.
What does this mean? The high calcium content of yogurt makes it a reliable option for weight loss. The high calcium level prevent fat accumulates and accelerates fat break down.
4. Yogurt intake reduces abdominal fat
Yogurt decreases belly fat.
It is mainly due to its high calcium content. Calcium decreases the level of calcitriol(a hormonally active form of vitamin D).
Because of this intracellular level of Calcium ions decrease in fat cells. This leads to increased fat break down and utilization.
A clinical study noted down this effect. Yogurt not only decreases abdominal fat but also reverses abdominal obesity and reduces waistline.
Whole-fat yogurt consumption leads to this effect.
A study in Luxembourg highlighted yogurts role in reducing abdominal fat. A high intake of whole- fat dairy products like yogurt seems to cause a reduction in global obesity and abdominal obesity parameters.
It was found consumption of yogurt has an inverse relationship with obesity. An increase in consumption leads to a decrease in belly fat and vice versa.
Another study illustrates the role of yogurt in abdominal fat reduction.
This study also showed that there is an inverse relationship between the two. Increase intake of yogurt causes a decrease in abdominal obesity and vice versa.
What does this mean? Yogurt has a pivotal role in reducing abdominal or belly fat. Regular intake of it reverses the accumulation of abdominal fat. Calcium is the key factor responsible for this effect.
5. Anti-obesity effect of yogurt prevents fat accumulation
The anti-obesity effect yogurt is primarily due to its effects on fat cell and fat metabolism which leads to a decreased level of them.
Yogurt affects the cell size of adipocytes (fat cells). It prevents the formation of large adipocytes.
Smaller adipocytes, a mark of reduced obesity is observed. Larger adipocytes secrete factors which stimulate adipogenesis (formation of adipocytes) and insulin resistance.
Calcium-rich foods like yogurt accelerate energy utilization by lipolysis (break down of fat).
They play a role in thermogenesis (body heat production) during calorie restriction.
During this time it increases the rate of fat break down resulting greater production of body heat. Thereby, resulting in weight loss.
What does this mean? Yogurt regulates fat cell size and their formation. It enhances the fat cell break down and utilizes it as a source of energy. In simple words yogurt burns body fat.
6. Yogurt reduces appetite and cravings
Yogurt consumption effects the satiety and appetite.
A study showed consumption of 378g of semi-solid and drinkable yogurt reduced the level of satiety, hunger and desire to eat just after 20 min of the food intake.
This effect was higher than any fruit drink or dairy fruit drink consumption.
These are nothing but small protein molecules which effects our appetite. Yogurt decreases the craving for high sugar or high-fat unhealthy foods by this effect.
It was seen an intake of yogurt with 14gm of protein in comparison to chocolate with 2gm protein, lead to a greater reduction of appetite.
It didn’t affect the fullness but it decreased hunger and delayed further consumption by 30 mins.
What does this mean? The high protein and calcium content yogurt effects hunger and food cravings. Thus, resulting in a reduced appetite and over-eating.
7. Yogurt consumption affects the gut microbiota in obesity
Yogurt consists of good bacteria, one which helps us.
In obesity, the normal microbiota (micro-organisms found in the intestine) is impaired.
The barrier is damaged. Thus gut microbes cannot help in fighting infections or disorders.
Yogurt contains probiotic bacteria which improves this gut health. It prevents chronic diseases and inflammation by activating an immune response.
A clinical study has shown that the presence of probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus sp.greatly enhances weight loss and reduces inflammation related to obesity.
Thus yogurt plays a similar role in the gut microbiota of obese people.
Probiotics like yogurt can prevent obesity in children by altering their gut microbiota by changing the biochemical pathways.
This affects their moods and thus diminishes their food craving. It can also enhance the immune response of their gut microbiota.
Probiotic bacteria in yogurt improves intestinal function in irritable bowel syndrome and reduces inflammation and other symptoms.
What does this mean? Yogurt alters the gut microbiota of obese people towards a healthy one. The probiotic bacteria present in yogurt is responsible for this. This leads to weight loss.
8. Regular intake of yogurt affects genes involved in obesity
Clinical study has shown daily yogurt consumption (200gm daily)affects the expression level of genes and genetic factors responsible for obesity.
It shows a reduced expression ROR-γt and TNFα gene.
These genes cause inflammation. This results in an overall fat distribution in the body, reduced BMI, body fat percentage and body weight.
Probiotic bacteria present in yogurt modulates expression of genes like FOXP3, T-bet, GATA3 which plays a crucial role in inflammatory response and thereby can counteract obesity-induced inflammation.
What does this mean? This implies yogurt controls the expression of certain genes which effects obesity. Hence, it has an added effect against obesity which results in fat depletion.
9. Yogurt consumption reduces blood cholesterol level in obese people
Clinical study shows a daily intake of 300gm of yogurt reduces blood cholesterol level. There was no significant effect on triacylglycerides and LDL-cholesterol level.
There is a decrease in HDL-cholesterol level for both conventional and probiotic yogurt.
Another clinical trial suggests the probiotic effect of fermented milk product reduces LDL-cholesterol level and doesn’t have any effect on HDL or triacylglycerides.
Calcium present in yogurt and other dairy products plays a crucial role in modifying LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.
This prevents cardiovascular diseases.
An accumulation of data from various study highlights that probiotics cause an overall decrease in the cholesterol level and LDL cholesterol level of patients with high cholesterol or borderline high-normal cholesterol level.
What does this mean? This implies that yogurt consumption effects the over-all lipid profile by reducing blood cholesterol level. There is no systematic answer which one would be more effected as it has similar effects on triacylglycerides, HDL and LDL.
10. Daily intake of yogurt prevents obesity-associated type 2 diabetes
Yogurt consumption enhances the lipid profile of type 2 diabetes patients.
A daily intake of 300gm of probiotic and conventional yogurt causes a substantial decrease in LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio.
Another clinical trial on Mediterranean people showed a daily intake of dairy products like yogurt prevents type 2 diabetes and associated cardiovascular diseases.
A 7-day clinical trial have found consumption of low-fat dairy products like yogurts prevents the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A 6month clinical trial highlights the effects of low-fat dairy product intake in insulin resistance. A high dairy consumption (4 servings /day) lead to reduced fasting plasma insulin and improved insulin resistance than low dairy consumption (2 servings/day).
There was a 9% decrease in fasting plasma insulin and 11% improved insulin resistance in obese patients.
Vitamin D and calcium of yogurt has an inverse relationship of with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Increased absorption of these two causes a decrease in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
What does this mean? Thus yogurt prevents obesity associated type 2 diabetes due its high calcium and vitamin D content and by enhancing the lipid profile of the obese people.
Probiotic yogurt or conventional yogurt – which one is the best?
Both probiotic and conventional yogurt are potential weight loss ingredients. Nevertheless, clinical study has illustrated that probiotic yogurt is more effective than the conventional one.
A clinical trial comprising of 12 weeks of regular yogurt consumption during meals compared the effect of two. The net weight loss effect from both was the same.
However, probiotic yogurt showed a lesser serum cholesterol level. They seem to have a better effect on insulin sensitivity and lipid profile.
In another clinical study on women, the cellular immune response of conventional yogurt and probiotic yogurt were compared. The regime had an intake of 100g yogurt and 200gm yogurt intake per day.
In both the groups an enhanced level T lymphochytes (a type of immune cells) were observed but the probiotic one didn’t show better results.
What does this mean? Both conventional and probiotic yogurt plays similar role in weight loss. Due to the presence of probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus in probiotic yogurt, it has a greater effect in lowering the cholesterol level and preventing obesity associated type 2 diabetes. However it is alright if you are simply taking regular yogurt if not probiotic. Yogurt combined with diet and exercise supports weight loss.
Health Benefits of Yogurt
Apart from weight loss yogurt consumption has certain health benefits.
- Yogurt enhances our gut microbiota adding to the potential of good microbes present in our gastro-intestinal tract. Thus it prevents stomach and intestinal problems.
- It enhances the immunity and is beneficial in boosting immunity in elderly people, children or people with previous exposure to diseases.
- Use of yogurt prevents vaginal and urino-genital infections.
- Yogurt is rich source of bio-available calcium. It can be used a preventive measure for bone ailments and bone structure problems like osteoporosis. It increases bone density.
- Yogurt has probiotic bacteria which improve blood pressure and prevents high blood pressure.
- Probiotic bacteria found in yogurt induce better development and formation of epithelial and follicular cells. This results in better skin and hair.
- Yogurt significantly reduces serum cholesterol level. It reduces the amount of both high-density cholesterol and low-density cholesterol.
- Yogurt consists of good bacteria which breaks down products and helps in their digestion. It helps to have a better diet and enhances our metabolic profile.
- Probiotic bacteria like Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus sp affects moods swings and prevents depression. Yogurt has these bacteria and may have a similar effect.
How Much Yogurt to Consume for Weight Loss?
Yogurt consumption recommendation varies in different studies.
Some studies advocated 3-4times per week or 1litre of yogurt daily. Others advocated an intake of 454gm (16oz) daily or227gm thrice a week.
There are certain points to keep in mind while incorporating yogurt in your diet
- Care should be taken while choosing the right kind of yogurt. A high protein content yogurt is essential for weight loss, calorie count isn’t a factor.
- One should be cautious in adding other products to yogurts. This may increase its fat or carbohydrate and can lead to weight gain.
- Fat free yogurts aren’t a good alternative as many of them contains added sugar which ultimately leads to weight gain
- Select the best kind of probiotic yogurt. One that contains the right strain of bacteria. Not all of them are viable for weight loss. An ideal one should contain strains of Lactobacillus sp and Bifidobacterium sp.
From all perspectives, yogurt is a good dietary ingredient for obesity and weight loss.
A controlled intake of yogurt can lead to sustainable outcomes for weight loss.
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