17 Oct Good Yogurt vs Bad Yogurt
It’s tasty, smooth and loved all around the world and yet yogurt is one of the most confusing foods my clients encounter. IS IT great for the body and filled with probiotics that feed the gut…OR is it loaded with sugar, fillers, artificial sweeteners, thickeners, and should be considered a dessert or junk food instead of a breakfast food…?
What is a person to do??!
Well, first of all, around 75% of the world’s population is reported to be lactose-intolerant. That means, simply put, that we cannot tolerate cow milk products in our digestive system. So it is a “Trouble Maker” – a digestive system disrupter. And….pretty much all yogurt sold in stores today, or sold at frozen yogurt places, is made from cow’s milk. Sorry to tell you! The majority of people who can tolerate lactose come from the Northern European countries. So, the cells in our bodies are not supported in being their best when we eat or drink cow’s milk products unless we are one of the very few that can truly tolerate it. (The only exception to that might be grass-fed butter).
Secondly, the truth is that the majority of commercially produced yogurt brands out there are SO BAD that they really are a dessert or a junk food — and a very unhealthy one at that! In fact, almost all conventional yogurt is not the best choice for your health, no matter what the label says. And that includes frozen yogurt in stores and popular shops. The over-processing, added sugars (most amount to nearly your daily ‘added sugar’ maximum amount in just one serving!), artificial sweeteners, added thickeners and preservatives, other fillers, as well as the quality of the dairy that goes into them (often produced by feed lot, unhealthy cows), diminish this food’s natural nutritional benefits.
So, all of the name brands you know and likely love…those are pretty bad for you!! And “AVOID” food. Even the expensive ones (I won’t name them here). And…You may be surprised to hear this but, unfortunately, most “Greek yogurt” products fall into the category of conventional yogurt – and are not worth eating or feeding to your families. They are certainly not a health food. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, BUT, better to know now and make smart decisions going forward. “Out with the old and in with the new,” I would say!
To be honest, because of the all of the evidence stacked against conventional yogurt, I never eat it. There are so many better foods I can eat that actually nourish my gut, fuel my body, promote optimal gene expression, and provide vast amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. For instance, there are a lot of wonderful, whole, plant-based foods I eat that ensure my gut is happy is healthy – from local, organic, Bermuda bananas (a prebiotic) to fiber-rich broccoli to fermented foods like kimchi – so I do not need to fill up on junky conventional yogurts. And I take a good quality probiotic supplement every single day. So, if you’re eating conventional yogurt for the probiotic benefits, it makes a heck of a lot more sense (financially and health-wise) to buy a good probiotic supplement and take that instead. Plus, you can travel easily with a supplement.
Probiotic Yogurt Done Right
However, if you would like to enjoy the disease-fighting natural nutritional benefits of yogurt – there are some options! And yes, some of the potential benefits of probiotic yogurt include better digestive health, improved blood sugar levels, enhanced heart health, stronger bones and increased weight loss.
And what makes yogurt healthy?
“Traditional probiotic yogurt is made from dairy that’s been fermented into a creamy food packed with beneficial probiotics and is a balanced source of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. When it’s sourced from grass-fed cows or goats, then yogurt’s nutrition is maximized, supplying omega-3 fatty acids, whey protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, enzymes and probiotics.” – draxe.com
But, listen up! You’ll have to adjust your taste buds!! Remember: all of the added sugars in your favourite store bought yogurt might be the actual reason you think you like yogurt, so get ready to expand your awareness here when you have a taste of true probiotic yogurt!
So what is the best probiotic yogurt to eat? Ideally, opt for raw, cultured yogurts from grass-fed animals, such as sheep, goats or cows. Organic yogurt or unsweetened varieties from dairy-free sources are also fine in moderation.
My recommendations would be:
- Skip the Store-Bought Yogurt and Buy a Good Probiotic Supplement (to take instead). In Bermuda, you can buy that at Rock On the health food store on Front Street, at People’s Pharmacy on Victoria Street or at Better Health in Victoria Square. If you miss the texture and the feel of yogurt with granola, then make a smoothie instead with 2 frozen bananas, 2-3 prunes, 1 orange or grapefruit (or an organic apple or pineapple), and water until you reach a nice, smooth consistency you’re happy with, then make it into a smoothie bowl by pouring it in to a small bowl and topping it with homemade granola, or walnuts, almonds, coconut shavings, sliced fruit or a healthier store bought granola.
- Raw Yogurt from Sheep or Goats that Are Grass-Fed, Cultured 24 Hours
- Raw Yogurt from Grass-Fed Cows
- Organic Yogurt from Grass-Fed Animals
- Dairy-Free Probiotic Yogurt (from almonds, coconut or soy. However, there are often a lot of thickeners and chemical ingredients in these, so watch out!)
- DIY: Learn to Make Yogurt Yourself at Home. (See this webpage for a proper recipe)
- Do Not Waste Your Hard Earned Money on Eating Conventional Yogurt (in case you were wondering where this option stood!)
For even more information, should you wish to dive deeper into this topic, please see the fabulous article by Rachael Link, MS, RD, “10 Proven Probiotic Yogurt Benefits & Nutrition Facts” on the very reputable Dr. Axe website.
And if you need help with more recipes and ideas to “crowd out” yogurt and kick your conventional yogurt habit (remember how much sugar is in it and how sugar has been found to be 9 times as physically addictive as cocaine so this might be hard!) then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
’til next week!