Signature of healthy diet

Yogurt in every kitchen: a must have at all times!


Selected for you this week: the reasons why you have to enjoy a cup of yogurt every day, by Jen Haugen. Every week, we bring you valuable quotes from around the web on yogurt.

Nothing is more refreshing than yogurt topped with fruit or a smoothie whirled in a blender for those warm days that require only a light meal. Here are a few common questions about yogurt you might have.

There are so many choices in the yogurt aisle, which one is the best choice?

While the yogurt aisle can be a bit overwhelming, it is important to know that all types of yogurt can fit into a healthy diet.  Whether you choose yogurt made from whole milk, reduced-fat or skim milk; plain or flavored yogurt or yogurt sweetened with a low calorie sweetener, you are making a balanced choice, even if you are looking to lower calories or sugar intake and if you wanna monitor carbohydrates in case of diabetes.

What’s the difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt?

While regular yogurt is strained twice, Greek yogurt is strained three times resulting in a thicker, creamier consistency removing much of the liquid whey, lactose and sugar.  In some cases, Greek yogurt can have twice the protein than regular yogurt, but it also has a slightly different, tangier flavor.  Remember though, all yogurt, whether Greek or not, can fit into a healthy diet.

I’ve heard that not all yogurts have beneficial bacteria, is this true?

To be called yogurt, active cultures – known as probiotics – must be added to the milk.  Specifically, two cultures must be added: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles.   Others may be added depending on the manufacturer.  You may also see the Live and Active Cultures seal added to a container of yogurt, noting that the yogurt has been verified by the National Yogurt Association to have at least 100 million active cultures per gram, an amount recommended by leading researchers to be beneficial for health.  Probiotics are beneficial because they help maintain the balance of bacteria necessary for a healthy digestive system.  They can also boost immunity, shortening the length and severity of minor illnesses.

Can I cook with yogurt?

It’s easy to cook with yogurt to lower the fat in your recipes.  Replace half the fat with yogurt in your quick bread recipe or cake recipe to keep essential moisture while reducing the fat at the same time.  Add it to scones in place of heavy cream.  Yogurt also works well in sauces and marinades.  Or mix up your favorite creamy salad dressing using yogurt instead of mayonnaise!  The possibilities are really quite endless.

What about lactose intolerance?  Is yogurt okay to eat?

Approximately 12% of adults have lactose intolerance.  Lactose intolerance is the result of not having enough lactase, an enzyme needed to break down the lactose in dairy products.  Those live and active cultures found in yogurt are not only beneficial to making yogurt, but they also help those with lactose intolerance also break down lactose in milk.   So for those with lactose intolerance, yogurt is an excellent choice.

There’s no such thing as too much dairy in the refrigerator.  Now that you know the facts about yogurt, you can feel confident that whether you choose flavored yogurt or yogurt sweetened with a low calorie sweetener, you are making the right choice for your family.  Enjoy a cup of yogurt every day!

Copyright: Jen Haugen RD, LD

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