Yogurt is becoming more popular than ever, but in health food stores and in main stream markets across the country. In response to consumer demand, it is not unusual for stores to save several cases dedicated exclusively to yogurt. However, the sheer abundance of choices out there can make choosing a yogurt confusing, and be warned: not all yogurts are as healthy as they are marketed to be. Below is a general guide about things to look for in a healthy yogurt so that you will feel confident the next time you make your purchase.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as “sugar free yogurt”. Yogurt itself in its natural state has lactose, a natural milk sugar and on top of that, many manufacturers will add another form of sweetener, either regular sugar or a sugar substitute like aspartame or sucralose. The healthiest yogurts, though, have neither sugar nor artificial sweeteners in them: buying plain yogurt and then adding a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup is the best way to deal with the sugar issue.
If you are particularly interested in yogurt because of its probiotic properties that build a stronger immune system and better digestion, look for this on the ingredients list under names like L. acidophilus, L. casei or B. bifidum. These are the actual names of the bacteria in the yogurt. Oftentimes, there will be labels with terms like “live active cultures” on these products as well.
Vitamins and Minerals
Yogurt is naturally rich in calcium, so you should except to find that on the label, but adding Vitamin D to the yogurt makes it even better, as your body absorbs calcium more readily when Vitamin D is present as well. These amounts may vary greatly from one brand of yogurt to another. Calcium is especially important for women to avoid osteoporosis later on in life.
Yogurt can range from non-fat and low-fat options, right through whole-milk yogurt, which can contain high amounts of saturated fat depending on the particular product. If you do not want all the saturated fat of a whole-milk yogurt but do not like the taste of fat-free products, a safe bet might be to go with a reduced-fat yogurt instead.
Some yogurts are not as naturally as they are marketed to be – they can be highly processed products with any number of additives, colors and dyes in them. If you read the back of the yogurt label and come to a long list of products that you can’t identify or pronounce, it is best to give that product a miss and choose another with fewer and more natural ingredients.
So, to summarize, a low-fat, plain yogurt that is high in calcium and Vitamin D with live active cultures and does not contain a lot of artificial ingredients is probably your best bet. Fortunately, there are quite a few yogurts that can fit this bill: it is not just a matter of experimenting to see which one you like best.
More From Author :