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FDA allows yogurt to be labeled as reducing risks

by Elizabeth Pratt
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Experts say that while yogurt has nutritional benefits, the product may have added sugars. CWP, LLC/Stock Sea
  • Federal regulators are allowing yogurt makers to make limited claims on packaging that their yogurt may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Officials say specific language can be used to make qualifying health claims, as long as the claims are made clear that they are based on limited evidence..
  • Experts say the decision could confuse consumers and mislead claims that yogurt is the definitive way to reduce type 2 diabetes.

Following a decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. yogurt manufacturers will be able to claim on their labels that their yogurt may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Earlier this month, FDA officials announced a decision that would allow manufacturers to make claims about yogurt as long as they meet certain conditions.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it does not intend to object to the use of certain qualified health claims regarding yogurt consumption and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, other factors must be met for the label to be used,” the agency official said. statement.

“Although certified health claims are supported by scientific evidence, they do not meet the more stringent ‘significant scientific consensus’ standard required for approved health claims. “Although there is some reliable evidence supporting a link between yogurt consumption and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, this evidence is limited,” the agency added.

As part of the FDA’s decision, two cups or three servings of yogurt per week are considered the minimum amount of yogurt that must be consumed to meet a qualifying health claim.

There was mixed reaction among experts to the FDA’s decision.

“I understand why the FDA allowed this, but I worry about how consumers will interpret that claim and how companies will use it in their marketing.” Dr. Marilyn TanAn endocrinologist at Stanford University in California said: Today’s medical news.

“The FDA recognizes it as a ‘qualified health claim’ because the evidence may be limited, but it can be confusing for the average consumer. , different levels of scientific evidence and how to interpret different scientific studies (i.e., identifying whether there is bias, whether the study is large enough, and whether it is well designed). We are not aware of it,” Tan added.

The FDA’s decision follows a petition from food and beverage manufacturer Danone North America.

The petition asked the FDA to review the health claims that can be used on the labels of all types of yogurt that meet the FDA’s definition, including low-fat and nonfat yogurt.

The FDA approved the use of two specific health claims with specific language, but also expressed concern about the effects of added sugars in some yogurts.

“Reliable scientific evidence has found a statistically significant association between reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and yogurt as a food, regardless of its fat or sugar content. At this time, the level of added sugar is not an enforcement discretion factor for a qualified health claim regarding the relationship between yogurt and type 2 diabetes. “We are concerned that its use may add empty calories to the diet,” agency officials said in the report. response to the petition filed.

“Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025” Recommendation to Limit added sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories, and note that on average, added sugars account for about 270 calories, or more than 13 percent of the total daily calories for the U.S. population.” the official added. “Given that Americans are exceeding the recommended limits for added sugars and that some commercially available yogurts contain high amounts of added sugar, the FDA is We encourage you to carefully consider whether to use this label on products to which it may be added.”

Experts say that although yogurt has nutritional benefits, there is not enough evidence to confirm that yogurt can reduce the risk of developing or treat type 2 diabetes.

“There is no conclusive evidence that yogurt reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Yogurt is high in protein and therefore nutritious, but depending on the brand you buy, it may also be high in sugar, which can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can increase the patient’s blood sugar levels,” Tan said.

“It’s also important to remember that association and causation are not the same thing,” she added. “Just because certain people in the study ate yogurt regularly and had lower rates of diabetes after a certain period of time does not mean that yogurt reduced the risk. High-carbohydrate foods may have been substituted, or other dietary or lifestyle changes may have been made along with the yogurt.”

Dana Hannesa senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, said. Today’s medical news They argued that the FDA’s decision could lead to misunderstandings about the benefits of yogurt and how much people should eat.

“I disagree with this decision, especially because, as mentioned above, the scientific evidence is limited. Giving yogurt too much of a ‘health glow’ may lead people to believe, ‘If a little is good, a lot is better.’ I believe they’ll start thinking, ‘Good,”’ Hunnes said.

“Food products are also not regulated in the same way as medicines when it comes to health claims,” she added. “The evidence doesn’t have to be ‘strong’ to make a case, but the average person might not really understand the difference and give it more weight than it should.”

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by making lifestyle changes, so experts are warning consumers not to think of yogurt as the only solution to reducing risk.

“The mistake people can make is to think of yogurt as some kind of pharmacological solution that will make you feel better on its own, without any special care or effort.” Dr. John Milessaid an endocrinologist at the University of Kansas Health System. Today’s medical news.

All the experts we spoke to Today’s medical news I agree that reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes is much more complex than simply increasing your yogurt intake and requires lifestyle modifications and medication.

“It’s not as simple as eating a few cups of yogurt a week,” Tan says.

“General recommendations include increasing moderate-intensity physical activity, decreasing sedentary time, reducing refined carbohydrates and processed foods, reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake, and reducing body weight. These include staying within normal range or losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight, reducing stress, and improving sleep quality,” she said.

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