Yogurt with Local Fruit

Yogurt Gets an Ad Claim for Preventing Diabetes

Five years ago, Danone asked FDA if it would be OK to say eating yogurt might prevent type 2 diabetes. Or to be precise, “eating yogurt regularly may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.” Friday, FDA told Danone, yep, we’re cool with that.

Or, in the language of the agency:

“FDA concludes that the current scientific evidence is appropriate for consideration of qualified health claims for consumption of yogurt and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, provided that the qualified health claims are appropriately worded to avoid misleading consumers.”

So Food Is Medicine?

It’s a reasonable question. Does this mean that this lovely dairy food is acting just like medicine to prevent diabetes? Nope. Mr. Food Is Medicine himself – Dariush Mozaffarian – emphasized that this is not allowed because marketing a food as if it can prevent or cure a disease would cross a line into promoting it as if it’s a drug. FDA prohibits this:

“I think that’s actually a significant problem both for the food industry and the FDA because now that we’re learning that food actually is medicine, and food can, in some cases, treat or cure disease, there’s no regulatory pathway to get there.”

Marketing on the Right Side of a Fuzzy Line

So really, food is not medicine – not even yogurt. Not even if it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Saying that it actually prevents type 2 diabetes is over the line.

Honestly, this might be a distinction that makes little difference in the real world. Those rascally yogurt marketers will be sure to bombard us in the years to come with this health claim. Because FDA says it’s A-OK.

Click here for the news from FDA and here for the nitty gritty regulatory details. For further perspective, click here, here, and here.

Yogurt with Local Fruit, photograph by Schwäbin, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

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March 3, 2024

2 Responses to “Yogurt Gets an Ad Claim for Preventing Diabetes”

  1. March 03, 2024 at 9:12 am, David Brown said:

    I would like to see a claim on chicken product packages that says, “For Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and T2DM, zero randomized controlled feeding trials have specifically assessed the effects of consuming processed chicken/poultry on these health outcomes.” https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/16/3550

    • March 03, 2024 at 11:33 am, Ted said:

      Please, David, don’t hold your breath while you wait for this to happen.