Do you find the yogurt aisle intimidating? The yogurt industry has grown substantially over the past decade. With so many options from greek to coconut it can difficult to decide which yogurts are the healthiest. However, some yogurts that may seem healthy are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. In this blog post we will look at how to choose the healthiest yogurt.
Read at the Ingredient list
Keep it simple. The ingredient list will tell you about the quality of the product. A healthier yogurt should only contain two ingredients: milk and live bacteria. Avoid yogurts with long lists of ingredients you cannot pronounce or recognize. Dairy free yogurts are available but like milk based yogurts read the ingredient list.
Look for Active cultures
Choose yogurt that contains active cultures. Yogurt contains two types of active bacteria Lactobacillus ; and Streptococcus thermophilius. Live or active cultures also known as probiotics act as good food sources for the healthy bacteria in our guts, aiding in healthy digestion. Believe it or not not all yogurt contain live or active cultures. Some yogurts are heat treated to extend shelf life which also kills both good and bad bacteria.
Yogurt is naturally high in natural containing sugar, lactose. Flavoured yogurts on the other hand contain lots of added sugar and should be eaten occasionally. Plain yogurt is always a better option and can be naturally flavoured with fresh or frozen fruit instead. Y ou can also mix flavoured yogurt with plain to reduce the sugar content.
Greek vs Non Greek
The process to make greek and non greek yogurt are the same. Actually, Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that has been extensively strained to remove liquid whey and lactose, leaving a thicker texture. In terms of nutrition there are some differences.
Protein: Greek yogurt can contain double the protein in comparison to non greek yogurt. A 3/4 serving can contain 18 grams of protein versus 8 grams found in regular yogurt.
Fat: Greek yogurt tends to be higher in saturated fats in comparison to regular yogurt.
Calcium: Most greek yogurts are strained to remove the calcium rich whey. However, some brands use an ultrafiltration method without removing the whey. A good way to tell if a yogurt is high in calcium is to read the percent daily value on the nutrition facts label.
Low fat vs high fat
Full fat yogurt has made its way back to the yogurt aisle. Current research does suggest that fat is not the “bad guy” when it comes to chronic disease. Now that does not mean you get the green light when it comes to fat but if you prefer the taste of three percent yogurt over fat free than go ahead.
Yogurt can be a wholesome, delicious, and healthy breakfast or snack for the whole family. Yogurt is a staple in many house holds, including ours. A good rule of thumb is to keep things simple by choosing plain yogurt that contains live bacteria. If you are feeling adventurous you can make your own yogurt, my friend Lisa from home grown life has a great recipe on her blog.