Western dietary guidelines support the consumption of dairy but how much of the specific ratios is cultural versus evidence-based has always been a debate.

One thing that has never been debate is if there is anything special about yogurt. Though it has become increasingly popular due to marketing claims about "probiotics" there is no evidence any of it is true, nor is it helping with any of the physical and mental parameters analyzed in a new study of 4,445 Spanish adults.

The research  led by researchers from the Autonomous University of Madrid and carried out in Spain evaluates whether there is a link between the regular consumption of yogurt and the physical and mental improvement in health-related quality of life (HRQL) in the adult population, gaged from the SF-12 survey. The scholars examined the consumption of yogurt and the change in health score over a 3.5 year period to try and verify claims that yogurt leads to lesser weight increase (Wang et al., 2014), lower blood pressure (Ralston et al., 2012 and Soedamah-Muthu et al., 2012) and a lower rate of cardiovascular diseases (Soedamah-Muthu et al., 2011). 

"The regular consumption of yogurt was not linked to health-related quality of life," as lead author Esther López-García explained to SINC. "For future research more specific instruments must be used which may increase the probability of finding a potential benefit of this food".

The results, also found no link for individuals with no diagnosed illnesses, who had never smoked and who followed a Mediterranean diet, or rather those without any risk factors which could obscure the relationship under review.

"In comparison with people that did not eat yogurt, those who ate this dairy product regularly did not display any significant improvement in their score on the physical component of quality of life, and although there was a slight improvement mentally, this was not statistically significant," adds López-García.

Currently, claims of the health properties of food items must be scientifically evaluated in accordance with the European Food Safety Authority (no.1924/2006). The US Department for Agriculture also reviews the claims proposed by the food industry to allow or reject the use of these assertions for commercial purposes. 

Citation: Esther Lopez-Garcia, PhD, Luz Leon-Muñoz, PhD, Pilar Guallar-Castillon, MD, PhD, Fernando Rodríguez-Artalejo, 'Habitual Yogurt Consumption and Health-Related Quality of Life: A Prospective Cohort Study', Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, January 2015Volume 115, Issue 1, Pages 31–39 DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.05.013