How to Choose a Healthy Yoghurt
I love yoghurt, and I eat it at least once a day – no matter what the season! I get asked though a lot of questions about yoghurt (how to pick out the healthy pots from the less than healthy ones) and so I thought I’d try to help out!
The main question that I get about yoghurts is around the amount of ‘sugar’ in them… now, although looking at the ‘sugar’ content for baked/processed products is usually useful, when it comes to foods such as milk, yoghurt and fruit the rules change slightly. This is because they contain low GI*, NATURAL sugars which are good for us; milk sugars (lactose) and fruit sugars (fructose). In general though aim to choose a yoghurt that is less than 15g of total sugar per serving or less than 100 calories per serving (these yoghurts tend to be lower in both added sugar and also fat). *Low GI means that the energy is released slowly.
If you’re watching your weight then I recommend a lower calorie yoghurt i.e. less than 100 calories per serving. The ones that normally fit this ‘rule’ are the ones labelled ‘natural’, light’, ‘diet’ or ‘fat-free’. Fruity yoghurts labelled as ‘low-fat’ are often higher in calories because although they take out some fat, they add in more sugar! If on the other hand you’re trying to gain weight then go ahead and buy the full fat/thick and creamy yoghurts (or if you prefer these and you’re not trying to gain weight then just have a smaller portion). Greek yoghurts are the highest in protein – often containing DOUBLE the amount in comparison to normal yoghurts.
Yoghurts make an ideal healthy snack and provide our bodies with:
- High Quality Protein – Greek Yoghurt & Strained Yoghurt contain twice as much protein as other yoghurts. Protein helps us to feel fuller for longer and the specific amino acids (the break down of protein) in yoghurt help our bodies to absorb more calcium and boost our immunity. The protein in yoghurt is also ideal for sports recovery as the protein is more readily digested than the protein in milk (whey protein helps to maintain lean body mass i.e. muscle).
- Calcium: Just one small pot of yoghurt contains 1/3 of your daily calcium needs, essential for bone and teeth health. Lower fat dairy products such as fat-free yoghurt or skimmed milk contain marginally more calcium than the full fat varieties as calcium is a water-soluble mineral.
- Vitamins & Other Minerals: Yoghurt is a fantastic source of vitamin B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) which help your body to convert food into energy. Yoghurt also contains phosphorous, which is needed for teeth and bone health, and potassium which plays a role in nerve health and in muscle contraction.
- Live Cultures & Probiotics: The live cultures and probiotics in yoghurt have been shown to boost immunity and improve digestive health (by boosting our good gut bacteria).
Yoghurts make the perfect healthy snack or healthy dessert.. try adding extra fruit such as berries and a sprinkle of home made granola. To flavour plain yoghurts I suggest adding a sugar alternative such as Freedom or Agave Nectar.