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Back to Symposium 2018

Yogurt, Gut Microbiota and Cardiometabolic Health

André Marette André Marette, PhD

Department of Medicine, Quebec Heart and Lung Institute
Research Chair in Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases
Scientific Director, Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods
Laval University

Associations between yogurt intake and risk of diet-related cardiometabolic diseases have been the subject of recent research. A growing body of evidence suggests that consumption of fermented dairy products, and notably yogurt, is linked to healthy dietary patterns, lifestyles and reduced risk of cardiometabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Indeed, regular yogurt consumers tend to choose healthier diets, they are more likely to have adequate intakes of key nutrients and to exercise regularly and less likely to consume unhealthy foods, smoke or drink alcohol in excess. However, there is an obvious lack of randomized controlled trials that have investigated the mechanisms that underlie the potential beneficial effects of yogurt consumption on cardiometabolic diseases. Furthermore, there has been little attempt to clarify the mechanisms that underlie the potential beneficial effects of yogurt consumption.

What we know is that yogurt, as a nutrient dense dairy food, has been suggested to lower weight gain and prevent cardiometabolic diseases by contributing to intakes of protein, calcium, bioactive lipids and several other micronutrients. It has also been suggested that live bacteria in yogurt can interact with the gut microbiota and in this may play a role to reduce inflammation which is a major driver of cardiometabolic diseases in obesity. In addition, fermentation with bacterial strains generates bioactive molecules that may contribute to the beneficial effect of yogurt on cardiometabolic health. Bioactive peptides, exopolysaccharides, and CLA are among the beneficial compounds released during yogurt fermentation. We have recently obtained evidence that peptides released during fermentation of dairy products act as key immunometabolic factors and can improve metabolic and intestinal health and positively impact the gut microbiota in obese and dyslipidemic mice, thus reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic diseases.

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