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Myth: All yogurts are created equal

TRUTH: There is an astounding amount of variability in the quality and healthfulness of different brands of yogurt.  If you read the ingredients of some yogurts, you might find that of the first 4 ingredients, 2 are forms of sugar.  Other versions list only 1 ingredient (other than the beneficial bacteria): milk.

Greek style yogurt made with regular, low fat plain yogurt, cheesecloth and a coffee filter.

So how do you choose a yogurt?  Well, here are some general guidelines:

  1. Any flavored or fruited yogurt is probably going to have some added sugar and little fiber.  You’re better off chopping whole fruit, adding some and freezing some for future yogurt.
  2. There is great variation in the protein content.  Protein in a 6 oz serving can be as little as 5 grams of yogurt or as many as 20 grams.  Greek yogurt tends to be higher in protein.
  3. There is great variation in the fat content.  Choosing low fat or non-fat yogurt is the healthiest option.

Yogurt is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, so it may help prevent osteoporosis.  The active bacteria can improve digestion and intestinal health – choosing a yogurt that lists ‘active cultures’ on its’ package will have more of these beneficial bacteria.

BOTTOM LINE: Yogurt quality varies greatly and some are better than others.  Doing a little label reading will help you determine the healthiest from your local selection.  Remember to check the expiration date!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. WebMD’s The Benefits of Yogurt: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-yogurt
  2. World’s Healthiest Foods: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=124

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