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  • Writer's pictureBernice Barretto

Choosing The Right Yogurt

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

By Bernice Barreto | Holistic Health Coach The Holistic Street | July 2023 © Copyright 2023

Choosing the right yogurt

These days yogurts are sold in varieties and marketed to be an healthy food.


Do you really know how healthy it is?


Do we get lured with the marketing strategies of this giant dairy companies claiming to sell healthy yogurt?


Various experiments takes place every single day in food industry and new food products are launched more frequently than ever before. So how do you pick the right yogurt?


Let's first explore the types of yogurts that are easily available at the stores;

Regular yogurt and traditional yogurt and organic yogurt

1. Regular Yogurt Also known as plain yogurt and widely available in the stores. You may find few dairy brands offering "Low fat" option as well. Regular yogurt contains fever calories and more calcium.

Greek yoghurt

2. Greek Yogurt Greek yogurt is made from regular yogurt by extensively straining to get thicker consistency and it takes significantly more milk to prepare the same size of batch that of regular yogurt. Greek yogurt contains more protein, less sugar and more fat compared to regular yogurt and it's thick in consistency.

Dairy free Yogurt Lactose free Yogurt Vegan Yogurt Plant based Yogurt

3. Dairy-free Yogurt/ Lactose-free Yogurt/ Vegan Yogurt/ Plant-based Yogurt If you are lactose intolerant or a vegan, you have an alternative to choose dairy-free yogurt, which is widely available at the stores. Dairy-free yogurt is also commonly labeled as Lactose-free Yogurt or Vegan Yogurt or Plant-based Yogurt. It contains less fat and no lactose. Although yogurts are traditionally made from milk, non-dairy yogurts are prepared from plant based sources such as soy, coconut, oats, almond or cashew. It includes live cultures and available in variety of flavors and textures such as regular, Greek and so on. In some products the strain of live cultures may slightly not be the same that are typically found in lactose based yogurts.

Australian Yogurt French Yogurt Icelandic Yogurt

4. Australian Yogurt/ French Yogurt/ Icelandic Yogurt There are also many other forms of yogurt such as Australian Yogurt, French Yogurt, Icelandic Yogurt. They all contain live cultures (Probiotics) but the difference is slightly in the process of making the yogurt, the nutritional values, the consistency and country of origin that gives the yogurt it's name.


Have I missed on anything so far?

Yes! ORGANIC Yogurt.


Organic yogurt or organic  milk

The word ORGANIC plays a key role in most of my decision in food product purchases.

Some dairy product companies label organic yogurts as "grass-fed" or even "free-range", this means the yogurt was made using milk from grass-fed cows, grazing in pastures where no growth hormones or antibiotics were used on the animals that produced the milk. Organic yogurts are rich in calcium, protein and holds beneficial strains of live cultures.

Either you purchase regular yogurt or dairy-free yogurt or Greek yogurt or plant based yogurt, it's more nutritious and beneficial if it's made using ORGANIC sources.


dairy animals at the farm

Since ancient times yogurt was prepared using milk from animals like cow, goat, sheep, mares (female horse), buffalo, camel, and yak in different parts of the world.

Few decades back the dairy industry introduced yogurts from plant based sources. Indeed a great news to the vegans and those with lactose intolerance or one's personal preference for vegan yogurt over milk yogurt!


flavored yogurts

Next is the FLAVORED YOGURTS!

There's variety of flavored yogurts widely available in the market. You can get the flavored option in mostly all types of yogurts such as in regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, dairy-free and so on.


So far we've explored the common types of yogurts, now lets understand how to choose the right yogurt.


Firstly, ask yourself; why you want to eat yogurt?


  • Is it for the gut Microbiome, to intake the probiotics/ live cultures to balance the gut micro flora?

gut microbiome probiotics foods

You may be aware that yogurt is one of the best probiotic food for gut health. It's best to consume it plain without any flavors or sugars. Some studies says that adding sugars to yogurt can hamper the live cultures and I personally agree to this based on my personal experience and I believe that the sugars if added in the yogurt as they make their way to the gut it gives energy to the bad bacteria in our gut helping them to multiply and outnumber the good bacteria creating imbalance in our microbiome. However, there is no scientific evidence to show that adding sugars in yogurt reduces the health benefits.

You can always use healthy alternative to sugar like adding Jaggery, but still consuming plain yogurt for your gut is the best! It can be either cold or room temperature. Since the probiotics or the live cultures cannot survive above the temperature of 45°C or even sometimes at continuous room temperature.


  • Is it to meet your nutritional intake such as calcium, vitamin, Protein and so on?

nutritional intake osteoporosis

Nutritional value in each type of yogurt differs. If you are specific about low fat, you may choose vegan yogurt or the regular yogurt labelled as "low fat". While Greek yogurt contains more calcium and protein. While, regular yogurt has less fat compared to Greek yogurt. Plant based yogurt has even lesser fat than regular yogurt. whereas, I prefer regular yogurt over Greek yogurt mainly due to the fact it contains less fat. However, I still use Greek yogurt while preparing certain recipes where I may need thick consistency. Also, I've experienced that I can have only 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt over regular yogurt, mainly due to the fact that it contains more fat. Each person has it's own nutritional needs based on their body shape, age, weight, metabolism, physical activity and so on.

  • You just crave to eat yogurt?

craving

If you just crave to eat yogurt, then Go For It! All foods we eat must be in moderate. 1 cup of yogurt is the standard serving per day. But again, it depends of each individual's age, weight, metabolism and so on.


  • Or some other reason?

maintain immunity

There could be other reason a person would eat yogurt such as to maintain healthy bones, to soothe stomach discomfort, normalize bowel function, maintain immunity, and many other reasons. In all such health concerns, plain organic yogurt is an ideal option. While, person with hypoglycemia would prefer flavored sweet yogurt.


Keynotes


We are different bio individuals, so our body have different nutritional needs. While, some people may notice slight or adverse effects consuming yogurt. And it's alright to avoid it! You can still get your nutrition and probiotics from other foods.


Plain yogurt helps to maintain the balance in the gut flora that may have been colonized by the bad bacteria due to various reasons such as imbalance in the stomach PH value, frequent use of antibiotics and so on, that have compromised your immunity. Thus, helps to strengthen immune system, fight colon infections and yeast infections.


The calcium in the yogurt helps fight Osteoporosis and maintains your bone health.


You can add freshly cut fruit pieces to the plain yogurt instead of store bought fruit yogurt. Topping with super seeds like chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and so on, adds up highly beneficial nutrients.


Adding yogurt while cooking with heat kills the live culture, hence, you cannot count the cooked food to have probiotics.


Try to buy the yogurt that has the latest production date, to ensure maximizing your live culture consumption.


Best time to have yogurt is in the morning on an empty stomach.


Just because someone exaggerates about the health benefits of Greek yogurt, not necessary the high fat in Greek yogurt will suit your body or vice versa.


Don't get lured with the marketing strategies of the dairy product companies. Choose the right yogurt based on your research, finding and experiment. If you are not allergic to dairy products or to other allergens, there's nothing wrong in trying different types of healthy options of yogurt that are available in the market.


yogurt and yoghurts


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