Yogurts can now make limited claim that they lower type 2 diabetes risk, FDA says

Kristen Rogers, CNN | 3/1/2024, 3:49 p.m.
In a decision nearly five years in the making, the US Food and Drug Administration has decided that yogurts can …
Yogurt can be a nutrient-rich addition to a healthy diet. Mandatory Credit: Basak Gurbuz Derma/Moment RF/Getty Images via CNN Newsource

In a decision nearly five years in the making, the US Food and Drug Administration has decided that yogurts can now make a limited claim that the food may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the federal agency concluded Friday.

The decision marks the first-ever qualified health claim the federal agency has issued for yogurt.

Qualified health claims “are supported by scientific evidence, but do not meet the more rigorous ‘significant scientific agreement’ standard required for an authorized health claim,” according to the FDA. “To ensure that these claims are not misleading, they must be accompanied by a disclaimer or other qualifying language to accurately communicate to consumers the level of scientific evidence supporting the claim.”

In the case of yogurt, the claim states that according to limited scientific evidence, “eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week,” may reduce risk of the disease that affects about 38 million people in the US and roughly 462 million individuals worldwide.

Underpinning the serving size recommendation is the FDA’s conclusion that, based on two prospective cohorts evaluated in high-quality studies, the specific amount is the minimum necessary to achieve the claimed effect.

Made from milk fermented with the bacteria, or probiotics, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, yogurt is rich in calcium, protein, B vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

The move comes in response to a 2018 petition submitted by food and beverage company Danone North America. The submission set in motion an FDA review of existing research on the relationships between yogurt and type 2 diabetes, according to a news release.

Qualified health claims have been allowed by the FDA for dietary supplements since 2000 and for food since 2002, but they are rarely announced. In the past decade, only 10 foods have been allowed to be sold with such claims — including high-flavonol cocoa powder for reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and certain cranberry products for lowered odds of recurrent urinary tract infections among women.