Uniqueness of Yogurt – speciﬁc properties of yogurt facilitate improved nutrient intake
What’s in it? Yogurt is generally considered to be a nutritionally dense food, especially for nutrients such as calcium, proteins (Digest 1), and some vitamins. Higher diet quality (for potassium, vitamins B2 and B12, calcium, magnesium and zinc) has been observed with increased dairy consumption (2, 3).
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans deﬁned “nutrients of concern” as those nutrients that may pose a substantial public health concern. The Committee determined that calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and ﬁbre are under-consumed and may pose a public health concern (4, 5). Dairy foods, including yogurt, are major dietary contributors of three of the four nutrients of concern.
Milk provides nine essential nutrients important for optimal health: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboﬂavin, and niacin (niacin equivalents). The nutrient composition of milk and yogurt are similar; however, yogurt represents a more concentrated source of riboﬂavin, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. Hence, the dairy food group is a substantial contributor of many of the above nutrients (e.g., calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, and protein), all of which should work towards promoting health.
Recent work using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2005-2008) has shown that dairy foods, including full-fat varieties, are key components of the American diet that contribute a signiﬁcant amount of the essential nutrients calcium, vitamin D and protein, to the diet (6).
Data from the French dietary survey (Etude Individuelle Nationale sur les Consommations Alimentaires, INCA 2006 (7)) was analysed by using computerized modelling, which enabled the researchers to examine theoretical dietary patterns that would meet nutrient needs within calorie needs. The diet optimization model suggested that French individuals should choose more nutrient-dense foods, including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy foods. For the dairy foods, the model suggested replacing some cheese consumption with additional yogurt to help reduce the energy density of the diet and to ensure nutrient adequacy (8). While this study was focused on the French population, the premise of selecting a healthy diet pattern that includes nutrient-rich yogurt can help individuals meet nutrient needs.