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Hacking through the Hype about Yogurt

June 10, 2019. Imagine the dairy section at the supermarket. Yogurt is everywhere. There’s Greek yogurt, European yogurt, flavored yogurt, yogurt in cups, yogurt in squeezable pouches, yogurt with granola, yogurt with nuts, and more! It has even started to invade many other sections of the store with offerings like yogurt ice cream, yogurt salad dressing, and yogurt protein bars.  

The Hype about Yogurt

What is behind this yogurt craze? According to food marketing industry experts, the primary driver is that consumers are interested in the health and potential weight-loss benefits of yogurt [REF]. Food manufacturers responded to consumer demand and yogurt sales in the United States surged to over $8 billion in 2017. [REF]

"Yogurt was consumed by peoples in ancient Greece and by the armies of Genghis Khan." 

The History of Yogurt

Indeed, yogurt in its basic form deserves credit as a healthy food choice. This creamy, tangy, milk production has been a food staple for many thousands of years. Yogurt was consumed by peoples in ancient Greece and by the armies of Genghis Khan. Historical records even reference yogurt dating as far back as 6000 BC in Indian Aryuvedic scripts [REF]

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Here are just a few of yogurt’s benefits:

  • Excellent source of calcium: Many people do not consume enough calcium. Dairy foods, like yogurt, are a great source of calcium.
  • Great source of potassium and vitamin D: Yogurt naturally has potassium and many yogurts are fortified with vitamin D.
  • Good source of protein: Protein contains the amino acid building blocks for cells, and it helps people feel satisfied after eating.
  • Probiotic content: The active cultures that transform milk into yogurt are one of the components that confer yogurt’s biggest unique benefits
  • The probiotic bacteria cultures break down the lactose in milk, making yogurt a good dairy option for some people who are sensitive to lactose.
  • Probiotic bacteria have also been shown to promote a healthy gut.

Avoid Marketing Traps

Savvy consumers can take advantage of the growing yogurt offerings at the local supermarket. But it’s important to hack through the marketing hype to select yogurt products that actually deliver health benefits. Below are some traps to avoid.

  • Trap #1: Avoid added sugar. Regardless of the yogurt product you buy, make sure you read the ingredient label and nutrition facts. Many of these products are loaded with added sugar (and calories). 
  • Trap #2: Avoid fake fruit. Fruit with yogurt may sound like a healthy choice, but some yogurt brands just add “fruit-flavored” sugary gels. As an alternative, buy plain yogurt and mix in fresh or frozen fruit.
  • Trap #3: Avoid yogurt added to snack foods. Yogurt-covered pretzels and yogurt cereal bars don’t have any additional health benefits because they have “yogurt” in them. These snacks use powdered yogurt, which has added sugar and oil, and in this form, has none of the benefits of natural yogurt.
  • Trap #4: Avoid yogurt without active cultures. Select yogurt with active cultures to promote gut health. Without healthy bacteria, an added benefit of yogurt is lost

"Yogurt is a great food to include as part of a healthy diet. Just take a few minutes to inspect the ingredients and ensure that the yogurt is not a junk food disguised as a health food." 

What is the Bottom Line about Yogurt? 

Yogurt is a great food to include as part of a healthy diet. Just take a few minutes to inspect the ingredients and ensure that the yogurt is not a junk food disguised as a health food. 

Need more help identifying healthy foods and putting together a well-rounded diet? Registered dietitians at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center are ready to help!  They can conduct a nutritional assessment, help put together healthy meal plans, and conduct periodic check-ins to help you achieve your diet and weight-loss goals.  Learn more or schedule a meeting by calling 800-235-3853 today! 

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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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