How to Choose a Healthy Yogurt
Let’s first answer the question: What is yogurt? Yogurt is a fermented dairy product containing 2 things: milk and live active yogurt cultures.
Choosing a Yogurt: 6 factors to consider…………
1.)Live Active Yogurt Cultures: The presence of live active yogurt cultures starts the fermentation process. The fermentation process makes the milk more digestible as most of the lactose gets used up in the fermentation process. Fermentation also breaks down casein (milk protein), which is one of the most difficult proteins to digest. As a result, some people who are lactose intolerant can often eat yogurt. These live active yogurt cultures proliferate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestine, which helps strengthen the immune system. And most importantly, fermentation makes calcium and phosphorus more available for absorption. Please note: calcium/phosphorus ratio is upset by sugar intake, interfering with absorption of these minerals.
2.) Protein Content: Go for the Greek, yogurt that is, in order to satisfy your body’s daily protein needs. The average minimum protein requirement for women is 60 to 70 grams per day; men need 70 to 80 grams per day. A cup of greek yogurt has 20-23 grams of protein.
3.) Sugar Content: 4 Grams of sugar=1 teaspoon sugar. Sugar is a highly addictive substance and food companies benefit greatly from your addiction to it. As a matter of fact, brain scans show the brain lights up for sugar in the same way it does for cocaine! Remember that if you choose to eat yogurt because you want to build up that friendly bacteria in your intestine and strengthen your immune system, you must choose plain yogurt and not that heavily sugar-laden kind because all that added sugar feeds your unfriendly gut bacteria, negating any benefit from eating the yogurt. And if you are not convinced yet, here are just a few more negatives to sugar consumption: eating sugar robs your body’s stores of vitamin and minerals in order to be metabolized, leaving you depleted. A diet high in sugar creates an overly acidic condition in the body resulting in stiffening of joints and muscles and digestive problems. And, sugar causes the pancreas to secrete abnormally large amounts of insulin, contributing to hypoglycemia and diabetes.
4.) Fat Content: Fats are digested slowly so eating plain yogurt with fat (NO, 1% fat doesn’t count) helps maintain a steady blood sugar level. This is so important for people who are trying to lose weight. If you constantly crave sugar, add some healthy fat to your diet and see what happens. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level is so important to avoid hypoglycemia, diabetes and premature aging. Also, fats help with absorption of calcium, protein, and Vitamins A and D. Since Vitamins A and D are fat-soluble vitamins, you cannot absorb them without fat being present. You leave out a key ingredient for absorption of vitamins and minerals when you go fat-free.
5.) No rBGH Hormone (synthetic growth hormone): Any dairy that doesn’t give rBGH hormones to their cows will advertise this fact so look for “NO rBGH” on the label. In the absence of this information, one should assume that the milk is from cows that are raised in a factory farming setting and along with rGBH, they are given antibiotics routinely to avoid infections.
6.) No Fillers or Thickeners (cornstarch, modified cornstarch, gelatin, and carrageenan): If you see cornstarch on the ingredients list of your favorite yogurt, know that you are eating a highly processed food. Traditionally fermented yogurt gets thick naturally and shouldn’t require the addition of thickeners.