WASHINGTON Soy yogurt, especially with fruit in
it, may help control both type 2 diabetes and high blood
pressure, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.
Although people with diabetes are usually discouraged from
eating sweet snacks, soy yogurt and some dairy yogurts rich in
fruit seem to help regulate enzymes that affect blood sugar
levels, the researchers report in the Journal of Food
"What one eats should be part of an overall approach to
therapy," said Kalidas Shetty of the University of
Type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 15 million
Americans and up to 150 million people globally, is
characterized by an abnormal rise in blood sugar right after a
meal. This effect, known as hyperglycemia, can damage blood
vessels, the kidneys, heart, eyes and nerves.
Shetty was interested in studying certain plant compounds
that affect enzymes targeted by diabetes drugs, notably
alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase.
He also wanted to check on foods' effects on angiotensin
converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors, medicines used to fight
high blood pressure.
Shetty and his team went to a local supermarket and bought
peach, strawberry, blueberry and plain yogurt made by four
different producers, including a soy brand.
Tests in their lab showed that soy blueberry yogurt
strongly affected all three of the enzymes. Peach and
strawberry yogurt also affected alpha-amylase and
The researchers tested the yogurt varieties for
antioxidants and plant compounds called phenols. Phenols and
polyphenols give red wine and tea some of their heart-healthy
Plain soy yogurt was the most potent, with blueberry dairy
yogurt scoring second on phenol and antioxidant content, the
Soy yogurt was also the best at inhibiting ACE, which
causes blood vessels to narrow and raises blood pressure.
Shetty noted that type 2 diabetes is most prevelant in poor
communities and especially among Native Americans.
"Cost-effective dietary changes are essential for fighting
this disease, and traditional diets that have a higher content
of these protective antioxidants are an important part of the
solution," Shetty said.
"We should be able to use diet along with other therapies,
and diabetes is a disease where this especially makes sense."
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables, along with regular
exercise, can prevent and help control diabetes and high blood