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:
Less Folic Acid and B12
More saturated fat
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!