Healthy vs. unhealthy yogurt

Is yogurt healthy? There are numerous food blogs, dieticians and personal trainers that recommend yogurt as part of a healthy diet. However, there are some health professionals who argue yogurt, particularly certain store-bought yogurts, is not as nutritious as popular opinion suggests. If you want to get the most out of your diet, here’s what you have to know about this trendy dairy snack:

Why it’s healthy
Eating yogurt can be a way to snack without consuming a lot of calories.

You should always read the ingredient label on the side of a yogurt container. Prevention, a healthy living resource, suggested searching for yogurts high in calcium, vitamin D and protein. Greek yogurt usually has more protein than traditional yogurts and store-bought Greek options are less likely to include high-fructose corn syrup than other brands.

The Livestrong health blog recommended eating yogurts for the probiotic benefits. Certain brands like Activa and Stonyfield contain bacteria believed to fight off infections and other health concerns. When shopping you should choose a yogurt promoting the fact it contains beneficial probiotics like lactobacillus.

Other yogurts might contain additional supplements and ingredients that provide a source of potassium and fiber.

Why it’s not
Additional ingredients in yogurt might also contain unhealthy features. Dye Diet, a consumer watch group, warned against yogurts that advertised “no sugar added” or “fat free.” Many of these products use artificial sweeteners and other foreign additives to improve their flavor.

The Albany, New York, Times Union newspaper interviewed Dr. Joseph Colella, an internationally recognized surgeon, who advised against eating too much yogurt. Dr. Colella suggested there are better sources of protein and calcium. He believed probiotics could possibly be beneficial but are not necessary for proper digestion.

Dr. Colella brought up how yogurt has the same disadvantages as many other dairy products. Humans are the only animals, besides cats Dr. Colella says, that continue consuming dairy after our infant stages so many adult digestive tracts have a problem with dairy products. Dairy is especially troublesome when the milk comes from cows that have been fed antibiotics. Residue from the drugs cows eat can make their way into dairy products.

Advice for better yogurt
For optimum health, you should buy plain Greek yogurt at the store and flavor it with fresh fruit as opposed to buying flavored yogurt that might be loaded with sugars and syrups. Make sure you look for ingredient labels that do not include foreign additives but feature probiotics.  If you are a home chef or culinary academy student who wishes to make your own yogurt, use grass-fed raw dairy products as opposed to pasteurized milk in your ingredients.

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