Yogurt: The Good, The Bad, & The Controversial


As with nearly all the foods we feed our families, there is some controversy as to whether or not yogurt is a healthy source of nutrition. Furthermore, there are so many varieties on the market today, it’s hard to know which to select should you decide to incorporate yogurt into your family’s meals and snacks.

First of all, not all yogurts are created equal. Many of the varieties we see on the grocery shelves today are nutritionally void. Healthy yogurt provides a number of benefits, but it’s important to know how to select the most nutritionally complete option.

The following are some of the benefits of consuming (healthy) yogurt:

  • Easier to digest and tends to be less allergenic than milk

  • Enhances the absorption of calcium and B vitamins

  • Recommended for children who suffer from indigestion and diarrhea

  • Recommended during & after antibiotics; helps maintain & restore friendly bacteria in the intestines that antibiotics destroy

  • Good source of more digestible protein

The following are tips for selecting healthier yogurts:

  • Read nutritional labels (especially protein & sugar content) as well as the list of ingredients.

  • Plain yogurt has the most nutrition (less calories, more protein, less fillers, more calcium, no added sugar)

  • Plain yogurt should only have 2 ingredients: Live Active Cultures & Milk.

  • Avoid “light” yogurts as they usually contain artificial colorings & sweeteners

  • Avoid “Heat Treated” products

  • Select yogurt that contains a min of 35% of the RDA for calcium in an 8 oz serving

  • “All Natural” or “Contains 100% of a Daily Vitamin” or “Extra Calcium” doesn’t mean that it’s nutritious

  • The more Live Active Cultures the healthier it is

  • Avoid fillers such as gelatin, water, and cornstarch

Here is some inspiration that will help you add yogurt to your family’s daily menu should you choose to do so:

  • As a mayonnaise substitute (use half mayo and half yogurt in tuna salad, dips, pasta salads, etc.)

  • As a dip for toddlers

  • As a sour cream substitute (lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol)

  • Yogurt Shakes & smoothies

  • Add fresh fruit purees to plain yogurt

  • Add maple syrup, agave, or honey (for kids 1+ yrs) to plain yogurt

A KidNutriYum favorite breakfast includes Toasted Hulless Oats, Plain Yogurt, and mixed fresh fruit. If you’re interested in the complete recipe, leave a comment, and KidNutriYum will post the details.

Furthermore, Greek Yogurt is rich and creamy and contains twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt. It has less lactose, fewer carbohydrates, more protein, less sodium, but does generally contain less calcium. It is also higher in fat and calories.

You may also want to consider Goat Milk yogurt. Although it tends to be more expensive, it delivers the following nutritional benefits:

  • Easier to digest

  • Contains more protein per serving

  • Contains higher levels of the essential amino acids

  • Even less allergenic

  • Contains less or no Casein which is a major allergen and may even be a carcinogen

  • Fewer Carbohydrates & less lactose

  • More Vitamin A, B3, B6

  • Higher in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese

  • Good alternative for toddlers and people prone to allergies, lactose intolerance, and intestinal diseases

However, goat’s milk also contains the following properties:

  • More expensive

  • Less Folic Acid and B12

  • More saturated fat

  • More cholesterol

Finally, here are some further reasons to consider Goat milk yogurt:

  • Dairy goat farmers are smaller

  • Goats are more free range

  • Antibiotic use is kept to a minimum

  • Hormones are not used

  • Goats thrive on less pasture (environmental)

To add chaos to the already abundant load of information, there are raw food experts that claim that all dairy based products should be avoided for the following reasons:

  • Dairy products contain casein which cause cancer

  • Fermented fat is a carcinogen

  • For more information refer to “The China Study” and the link between Casein(dairy) Animal Protein, Cancer & Disease

If you are interested in further details of the “China Study” and the correlation to cancer and various other diseases, leave a comment, and KidNutriYum will provide more substantial information on this topic.

As an informed consumer, you can now make the right choice for your family!

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