Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Lopez-Garcia: Health-related quality of life (HRQL) is a global indicator of perceived health status, which includes physical and mental domains. Assessing the association between individual foods and HRQL is important because both the food industry and the population as a whole are interested in knowing whether general well-being could be improved by consuming specific foods. Several biological mechanisms might support an association between consumption of yogurt and better Health-related quality of life. However, to our knowledge, the effect of yogurt on HRQL has not yet been studied in epidemiological investigations in the general population. Thus, the objective of this article was to examine the prospective association between habitual yogurt consumption and the physical and mental components of HRQL among the general adult population.
In this study, we found no association between yogurt consumption and the physical and mental components of HRQL after 3.5 years of follow-up of a population-based cohort. The results also held for whole-milk and reduced-fat yogurt.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Lopez-Garcia: Yogurt consumption has been linked to several benefits in health, including lower weight gain on the long-term, lower blood pressure levels, lower risk of colorectal cancer, reduced anxiety and depression, and greater lean body mass and better physical performance. Given the variety of potential effects of yogurt consumption described in previous studies, which affect the cardiovascular, digestive, central nervous and osteomuscular systems, it would be reasonable to expect an association between yogurt and HRQL, because the latter represents a global health indicator. However, the evidence on several effects of yogurt is still preliminary, because for some disorders it is not fully consistent (e.g., reduced risk of diabetes mellitus) or does not have a high quality (e.g., improved symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome). Also, in some cases the magnitude of the effect does not seem to be strong (e.g., reduced weight gain) and in another cases the potential effect is asymptomatic (e.g. on blood pressure), thus it may not translate into better health perception. Therefore, the available organ/system-specific evidence is insufficient either to ensure a benefit of yogurt on HRQL or to entirely rule it out
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Lopez-Garcia: Future population-based research should use disease-specific instruments to assess Health-related quality of life, in addition to generic instruments, because it may increase the likelihood of finding a potential benefit of yogurt on HRQL.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Esther Lopez-Garcia, PhD (2015). Yogurt Habit May Not Provide Long Term Health Benefits