Expert opinion

Interview behind the scenes: Dr Carrie Ruxton, RD, UK

Dr Carrie Ruxton

Dr Carrie Ru

Carrie Ruxton is a freelance dietitian who writes regularly for academic and media publications. Carrie works on a wide range of projects relating to product development, claims, PR and research. Her specialist areas are child nutrition, obesity and functional foods. Recently, she wrote an overview article about the yogurt science in NHDmag, The Dietitians’ Magazine, UK.

Why can yogurt be considered a healthy choice for UK adults and children?

As a typically lower fat food that is high in protein and calcium, yogurt is an excellent choice for snacks or dessert for any age post-weaning. Protein is believed to exert positive effects on satiety, leading consumers to feel fuller for longer after eating high protein foods. Calcium is an important bone-health nutrient which can be lacking in some diets, particularly those of girls and younger women.

Yogurt is more than just for breakfast or a snack. How can people integrate yogurt easily into daily cooking and habits ? Do you have any tips?

Yogurt is a versatile ingredient which is used widely in some European countries, although others have yet to make this discovery! I have often used yogurt in place of cream to create richer sauces, such as a mushroom sauce for pasta. I have also used natural yogurt plus berries or pineapple to make a healthy sweet dessert. Typically, I use flavoured yogurt as a mid-morning snack to avoid temptation from other less healthy options.

The decline of dairy consumption in adolescence is mainly driven by a reduction in milk consumption which is much higher in girls than in boys. Could yogurt help to maintain consumption of dairy products into adolescence?

One of the main reasons for decline in dairy consumption amongst older children is the switch from milk to juices and carbonated soft drinks. Breakfast skipping, particularly in teenager girls, is another reason. While we should continue to try and reverse these potentially damaging trends, yogurt could certainly plug some of the gap. Drinking yogurts and reduced fat, low sugar fruit yogurts are popular with teenagers who are often looking for fun, innovative products that can be consumed ‘on the go’.

Yogurts are now available with a range of additional ingredients offering a wide choice of products to suit different age groups and needs. Can we say that there is a yogurt for everyone?

There is, indeed, an enormous range of yogurt products but there is not yet a yogurt for everyone in my view. I would love to see more innovation in yogurts for children as there is a big difference in taste between the sweet, creamy fromage frais products for young children and the regular plain and fruit yogurts aimed at the wider market. It is quite a jump for young children to accept the more acidic taste and texture of ‘adult’ yogurts so I would welcome more intermediate-type products.

Read more about Yogurt on Carrie Ruxton’s original paper
Contact Carrie :
To follow Carrie on Twitter @drcarrieruxton

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