I’m going to the land of milk, honey and yogurt. I’ll be in Tel Aviv for the next few weeks. So I felt it was quite timely that I happened to come across an article posted on the internet site Medscape from the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research 2016 Annual Meeting. (The meeting was in Switzerland, perhaps an opportunity for some attendees to write off a trip!) It suggested that postmenopausal women who ate at least one serving of yogurt a day have a lower body mass index, less fat and better bone density than women who never consumed yogurt.
The study that was presented included 733 healthy postmenopausal women who underwent bone density scans at baseline and again three years later. At baseline, the women who consumed yogurt had a 4.4% higher bone density at the lumbar spine than women who never consumed yogurt. Their hip density was also 5.3% greater even after adjustment for their BMI, physical activity and total calcium and protein intake. Women who consumed yogurt were also 6.4% leaner than those who never ate it and again this had nothing to do with their total energy intake and physical activity. After the three years follow up, loss of bone density in the hip and arm was found to be less among yogurt consumers and again this was independent of their weight, physical activity, and total calcium intake.
What made yogurt so bone phenomenal? The researchers suggested that the bacteria, which ferments the milk in high-quality yogurt, also populates the large intestine and could improve calcium absorption.
So as I consume yogurt, the food of choice for breakfast and snacks in Israel, I will happily consider that I’m doing something good for my bones! It would be interesting to see if average bone density and occurrence of osteoporosis is lower there, and if I find out, I’ll let you know…
I also should let you know that at the end of the article it was noted that the chief researcher received the research award from the Danone Institute for his work.