A large body of observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has examined the role of dairy products in weight loss and maintenance of healthy weight. Yogurt is a dairy product that is generally very similar to milk, but it also has some unique properties that may enhance its possible role in weight maintenance.
This review summarizes the human RCT and prospective observational evidence on the relation of yogurt consumption to the management and maintenance of body weight and composition. The RCT evidence is limited to 2 small, short-term, energy-restricted trials. They both showed greater weight losses with yogurt interventions, but the difference between the yogurt intervention and the control diet was only significant in one of these trials.
There are 5 prospective observational studies that have examined the association between yogurt and weight gain. The results of these studies are equivocal. Two of these studies reported that individuals with higher yogurt consumption gained less weight over time. One of these same studies also considered changes in waist circumference (WC) and showed that higher yogurt consumption was associated with smaller increases in WC.
A third study was inconclusive because of low statistical power. A fourth study observed no association between changes in yogurt intake and weight gain, but the results suggested that those with the largest increases in yogurt intake during the study also had the highest increase in WC.
The final study examined weight and WC change separately by sex and baseline weight status and showed benefits for both weight and WC changes for higher yogurt consumption in overweight men, but it also found that higher yogurt consumption in normal-weight women was associated with a greater increase in weight over follow-up. Potential underlying mechanisms for the action of yogurt on weight are briefly discussed.
Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5 Suppl):1229S-34S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073031. Epub 2014 Apr 2.