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The Ugly Truth about Yogurt

May 1, 2013 by admin in Health News with 21 Comments

Yogurt has deep roots. It has been enjoyed in many cultures for a long part of history. It is traditionally made by adding milk and a small amount of a yogurt starter culture together and incubating it for several hours within a specific temperature range. This type of yogurt is a delicious staple in many kitchens around the world! Many cultures consume yogurt as a condiment or as an accompaniment to spicy foods.

In western cultures, yogurt is considered to be a delicious health food with beneficial bacteria that aids digestion and satisfies cravings without any guilt. Greek yogurt is a popular choice among the health conscious because the whey has been strained out and what’s left is a creamy and protein rich treat.  People in the west are also becoming increasingly aware of the potential health benefits that enjoying fermented foods, such as yogurt, may have. Probiotics and foods containing probiotics are quickly becoming a mainstream trend and yogurt is at the forefront of this movement.

Unfortunately, there is a disparity between the yogurt made through traditional methods and the carton of key lime pie flavored (and any other flavored variety) non-fat yogurt that is ubiquitous on the shelves of the typical grocery store.

3 Reasons You Should Not Eat Most Yogurt

Probiotics – It may be true that there are beneficial probiotics in commercially produced yogurt but any dairy products available at grocery stores have undergone pasteurization at high temperatures which is a process that beneficial bacteria cannot survive. Therefore, the probiotics are likely added to the yogurt after it has been pasteurized rather than allowing the natural fermentation process to produce the bacteria inherent to the yogurt culture. Some manufacturers add specific strains of probiotics that they believe is most beneficial for consumers.

In theory, this is a good idea, but these manufacturers do not take into account that different people may need different strains of probiotics. Therefore, you may not be eating the yogurt that has the good bacteria that your individual system needs, even though you believe you are doing something healthy. Even though the added probiotics in yogurt at the grocery store may be somewhat beneficial among some consumers, they typically come at a high cost to your health…

Sugar – The problem with these store-bought yogurts is that most of them, especially the alluring ones, are loaded with sugar. How often do you see a yogurt product that sounds too good to be true? The labels read like a decadent dessert menu at a fancy restaurant….Key lime pie, triple berry torte, and red velvet cake. These flavored yogurts claim to be healthy by using the target words “low-fat” or “light” to entice you, but fail to overtly mention the large amount of sugar that exists in place of the fat that was removed. Flavored nonfat or low-fat yogurts sometimes contain up to 25 to 30 grams of added sugar per serving.

Experts on sugar intake suggest that 50 grams of added sugar is the maximum amount individuals should consume on a daily basis. This means that these yogurts may contain half the amount of the sugar that you should ideally consume per day.

Consider that the calories are usually under 200 per serving of yogurt and you can see that the sugar content is way too high for a reasonable daily caloric intake of 2000 calories. Now it’s clear that these sugary yogurts are not going to help you with your goals of eating healthy, even though their advertisements and labels claim to do just that.

Fruits – You should not only consider the amount of sugar that these yogurts have, but you should also know that the fruits that are frequently swimming in the bottom of your yogurt cup may not be very fresh. The fruit used in these processed yogurts is often chosen because the quality is not good enough to be sold fresh. If the fruit isn’t fresh there is a chance it could become toxic which will make the yogurt toxic as well. Fruit that is past its expiration can produce mycotoxins, which can be harmful to those who consume it. Unfortunately, this is not information that you will find on the label of your favorite fruity yogurt.

But there’s even more to consider about these yogurts…

What if you choose to buy the plain non-fat yogurt that doesn’t have any added fruit or sweet flavors?

Well, the sugar intake is going to be less, which is a good thing, but the fat that was taken away may actually be healthy fat for you! We usually believe that non-fat or low-fat products are the healthiest because we correlate low-fat in a food to mean less fat on our bodies or in our arteries.

This is not always the case, especially when choosing something with saturated fat. Saturated fat actually helps your body to absorb some nutrients and can be very healthful in moderation. In addition, non-fat yogurt is heavily processed and is no longer as healthy because they it is not a whole food.

What Yogurt Should You Buy?

Fortunately, there are better options for those of us who want to eat healthy and avoid a lot of damaging foods that are marketed as good for us. If you enjoy the different types of yogurt that you find at the grocery store, it is best to buy the ones that offer the most benefits and the least amount of consequence. This is easy now that you know what to avoid.

Find yogurts that are made from 2% or whole milk because they’ve gone through less processing and are closer to their whole, natural form. Skip the sugar and the added fruit and opt instead for plain Greek yogurt or unsweetened plain yogurt. You can add fresh organic fruit and more nutritious sweeteners, such as honey or stevia leaf extract, to your yogurt.

Other Alternatives?

Another alternative to replace sugary yogurt products is kefir, which has a similar flavor to yogurt but is a drink. Kefir has even more probiotics than yogurt and can really add delicious flavor to a smoothie with your favorite organic fruits. The probiotics in kefir actually aid your body to have healthy digestion and may help heal your gastrointestinal disorders.

These probiotics are different than the ones in yogurt because they recolonize the gut with beneficial flora, whereas yogurt probiotics just pass through your system. You can buy kefir at health food stores and some grocery stores, but for an even healthier beverage you might want to try making it yourself. You can easily find kefir grains online to which you add milk and then ferment for approximately 15 to 24 hours.

If possible, I recommend finding a great source of local raw milk that comes from grass fed cows in order to make your kefir. Because raw milk hasn’t been pasteurized it has a higher nutrient content and is still in its whole food form! If you don’t have raw milk available, choose a lightly pasteurized organic whole milk for making kefir. You can drink kefir every day and reap the benefits!

It’s certainly confusing trying to figure out what food is best for you especially with all of the misleading marketing in the world today. But once you begin to tune into what is healthy for your body and you understand that real, whole foods are best, it’s easier to break free from this dilemma. Being aware of food trends and reading the actual ingredients on the foods you buy enables you to make great choices for yourself and your family.

Yogurt can be a great addition to your table, but make sure you use this information to choose the best product that won’t affect your health negatively.

About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.

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21 Comments

  1. Laura K OlsonMay 2, 2013 at 8:48 pmReply

    plain Greek yogurt is the exception

  2. LeeMay 2, 2013 at 9:53 pmReply

    I understand many physicians suggest to females to eat yougurt while taking anti-biotics as it helps to maintain the flora of the female anatomy during.

  3. jill pattersonMay 3, 2013 at 4:10 amReply

    Your articles are most informative…very good to have all the info….when shopping

  4. MLMay 3, 2013 at 9:03 amReply

    What about soy yogart? I am trying to stay away from dairy products so have switched to soy yogart. I do like the taste much better.

    • EmmaMay 3, 2013 at 10:36 pmReply

      You might want to reduce the consumption of soy products. Fermented soy products are good but not unfermented soy products.

      Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

      Soy yogurt is usually derived from unfermented soy.

  5. EllenMay 18, 2013 at 10:33 amReply

    I make homemade Kefir from kefir grains, cream cheese from this also ..I have kefir smoothie every day ..I mix veggies and or fruit,Hemp hearts, old fashion oats,I love my Kefir…I even make one with pineapple,70-80 % cocoa powder, banana.. when I want ice cream at nite..I make dressing for my salads with Kefir,also I bake with it …I use this for every thing ..I love my Kefir grains……………….!!!

    • Ruth IsaacMay 21, 2013 at 11:09 amReply

      Where do I get recipes for these dishes? I do make my own yogurt, but I don’t use grains, just 1% milk and lowfat yogurt starter. Recipes sound delicious.

  6. EllieMay 19, 2013 at 2:32 amReply

    I very much enjoyed this article..thank you for this info ..

  7. VENKATESHAMURTHY T SMay 26, 2013 at 9:58 pmReply

    HOW TO MAKE YOGURT AT HOME. CAN YOU PLEASE DETAIL THE PROCESS< AND CONTENTS/INGREDIENTS INVOLVED IN THE PREPARATION.

    • CarolJun 28, 2013 at 6:50 amReply

      It’s very easy! I bring 2 pints organic whole milk to a boil. Cool just until it doesn’t burn your pinkie. Pour into 2 sterilized pint canning jars and set in a tall 3 quart saucepan so they are not touching. Do NOT put lids on. Carefully pour very warm but not hot water into the pan until the water comes up to the neck of the jars. Cover the pan and put in the oven with just the pilot light to heat it. Close the oven door and set your timer for 10 hours. Remove jars and wipe dry. Put on lids and refrigerate.

      • CarolJun 28, 2013 at 6:51 amReply

        whoops! forgot the starter. After the yogurt is cool enough not to burn your pinkie, add 2 level teaspoons of yogurt and stir well. Then pour into jars.

    • Roslyn Grace2Aug 26, 2013 at 11:27 pmReply

      what a nice question being an Indian… anyways, the process is there where much if u just google it..
      ty..
      :)

  8. Martha ForbesJun 3, 2013 at 6:21 amReply

    I am an APO 4 which means that I cannot have more than 20 per cent fat in my diet a day . I eat nonfat Greek yogurt to give me access to protein which is organic. Would you please add ideas for people like me who cannot do much fat because of gene indicators. Thank you.

  9. T. LeeJun 25, 2013 at 1:03 pmReply

    to ML: i HOPE the soy you are eating says it is non-GMO or organic.

    Last I heard, all soy in the US (as well as corn and sugar beets) is GMO (genetically modified) unless it states otherwise, and THAT would not be a good thing at all if you are trying to eat healthy foods.

  10. D.AdamsAug 18, 2013 at 12:06 pmReply

    It was not as ugly as I thought it would be

  11. Roslyn Grace2Aug 26, 2013 at 11:23 pmReply

    that was really thoughtful , though i eat the non-flavoured , low-fat yougurt… but i eat ALWAYS… like with rice and stuff… i mean in the Indian food, yougurt is a must… now i really have no idea what to do coz i love yougurt!! :)

  12. RebeccaSep 10, 2013 at 10:44 pmReply

    thank you very informative article

  13. Sheryl KennedyOct 27, 2013 at 4:10 amReply

    I am not sure I would advocate for people to eat/drink unpasteurized dairy products. While much of the information you have on this site is useful I find it a bit concerning that you advocate for using raw dairy products. According to the CDC numerous people in the United States became sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk annually. In addition, CDC reported that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.

  14. gloria L.Nov 20, 2013 at 11:38 amReply

    what about lactose?

  15. gloria L.Nov 20, 2013 at 11:40 amReply

    I’m lactose intolerant.

  16. NancyDec 24, 2013 at 7:09 amReply

    I really appreciate your emails very informative
    Thanks so much
    I agreed about soy
    Today I have thyroid problems thanks to soy
    Happy Cristmas

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