Yogurt may be a diabetic-friendly food. Not only does it contain high-quality carbohydrate anampled protein, yogurt packs a fair share of calcium that's associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

According to a study published recently in BMC Medicine, eating 12 ounces of yogurt a day was linked to an 18 percent decrease in risk for Type 2 diabetes. While the study authors did not claim that yogurt could prevent the blood sugar disease, they did say it might be helpful.

"Some mechanisms suggest that yogurt is special," Mu Chen, lead author and research fellow at Harvard, explained to The New York Times. "There is some research suggesting that the probiotic bacteria in yogurt may be beneficial. But there is no certain conclusion yet."

Some research suggests that probiotic bacteria may improve the lipid profile, antioxidant status and cholesterol levels in Type 2 diabetes patients.

While yogurt is a healthy food choice that works well in the diabetic diet, Chen said it might also be a marker of a healthy lifestyle. Essentially, people who eat more yogurt may also eat better in general and have healthier body weights or exercise more frequently. Further research is required to sort out these theories.

Choosing the right yogurt

There are a lots of yogurts on the shelves these days, but don't be fooled by the unhealthy ones loaded with sugar. It's also best to stick to low-fat or nonfat options.

According to registered dietitian Jane Burnett, here are the key ingredients in the healthiest yogurts per 5- to 6-ounce carton:

• At least 5 grams of protein
• 140 calories or less
• 1 gram saturated fat or less
• 2 grams total fat or less
• 25 grams sugars or less
• 25 gram carbohydrate or less
• 120 milligrams sodium or less

Good yogurt options include: Yoplait Light Very Vanilla Yogurt, Great Value Nonfat Strawberry Yogurt, Dannon Light and Fit Nonfat Blueberry Yogurt and Yoplait Greek 2x Protein Plain Yogurt.

For more on a healthy diabetic diet:

The Best Diabetes Diets
Choose the Right Fruits to Boost Your Diet
Myths about the Paleo Diet