Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Scoop on Yogurt

            Yogurt is a product containing live bacteria culture in addition to fresh milk or cream. The product is then heat-treated to encourage bacterial growth. The way I word this, makes it sound like yogurt is a dangerous product, but there are many health-promoting aspects to it.

Here is the scoop:

            First, there are many types of yogurt: low fat or non-fat, Greek, frozen, and non-dairy. Low fat and non-fat yogurts are produced with 2 % or skim milk. In contrast, Greek style yogurt is thicker and creamier due to the further straining of the yogurt product; less liquid results in the interesting and thick texture. Frozen yogurt may or may not be heat-treated prior to freezing. If the yogurt is heat-treated it may not contain the health promoting bacteria cultures. Frozen yogurt, or “fro yo,” may contain just as much sugar, or more, as ice cream, so its important to bear that in mind and be an informed consumer. Non-dairy products are typically produced for lactose intolerant individuals and may be soy, or coconut milk-based.

            As mentioned, the probiotics, or live bacteria cultures, are great for the gut. They regulate the digestive system and may decrease gas, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. Some research even suggests that probiotics may boost immunity, aid in weight loss and reduce cancer risk. Dairy products are also rich in calcium, which is primarily responsible for bone and teeth development, blood clotting, and blood pressure regulation. One tip is to pair yogurt with vitamin D, because vitamin D aids in calcium absorption.

            Yogurt is often riddled with added sugars, so again be an informed consumer and purchase products you are comfortable with consuming. It is recommended to consume yogurt with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving; all yogurt contains some natural sugars.

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