Is Yoghurt Actually Good For You?
How many times have you had yoghurt for breakfast (or as a snack) this week? A lot? Well…same.
It is, after all, considered to be super-healthy.
But is it really good for you, given how much sugar it has?
The short version: yes. “Considering it’s packed with probiotics, calcium, potassium, and protein, yoghurt is one of the healthiest foods you can eat,” says Karen Ansel, a registered dietician.
Okay, Greek yoghurt vs. regular yoghurt: Which one is better?
While people are REALLY obsessed with Greek yohgurt, it is actually pretty similar nutritionally to regular yoghurt.
That said, Ansel says Greek yogurt does have a lot more protein than regular yoghurt (at 23 versus 12 grams). It’s also generally lower in carbs and sugars, so it could be a better option for you if you’re looking to stick with a low-carb routine.
And while 16 grams of sugar per serving of regular yoghurt looks pretty high, keep in mind that all yoghurt naturally has some sugar. Ansel says that natural sugar is balanced out by all the protein, calcium, and potassium that’s packed in there, too.
However, flavoured yoghurts (whether they’re regular or Greek) often contain added sugars and sweeteners that will take the carb and sugar counts way up. Skip those and add your own in the form of fruit, cinnamon, honey, or maple syrup if needed.
The downside of Greek yoghurt: processing (specifically straining, which gives Greek yoghurt its unique, thick texture) removes roughly half of the calcium from Greek yoghurt, per the . Many brands add a calcium supplement back in, but check the label to be sure.
Otherwise both types have all of the other same health benefits, so Ansel suggests choosing whichever you enjoy eating most.
Cool, so what are the actual health benefits of yoghurt?
To be clear, you can get way more from a cup of yoghurt than just calcium and protein. It also contains “good bacteria” that support your gut and immune system. “[Probiotics] have been credited with everything from improving digestion, to boosting immune health, to protecting against depression,” says Ansel.
It gets better: A of over 120,000 people who weren’t obese and didn’t suffer from chronic disease found that regularly eating yoghurt might protect against weight gain, possibly due to changes in gut bacteria. Woot!
Plus, some studies have suggested that four weeks of regularly eating probiotic yoghurt is good for your brain, while credited the healthy bacteria in yoghurt for lowering risk of heart attack and stroke among people who ate just two servings a week. Not bad, not bad at all.
What’s better: low-fat, non-fat, or full-fat yoghurt?
“Full-fat yoghurt is getting a lot of love lately—perhaps too much,” says Ansel. She says it’s best to stick to reduced-fat options due to yoghurt’s high saturated fat content.
“A little saturated fat, such as the amount you might get in a 2 percent yoghurt, is fine, but leading health experts still advise against going crazy on saturated fat, even if it’s from dairy,” Ansel says.
Non-fat options, meanwhile, often come with lots of extra sugar to mimic flavour. So yeah, stick with the happy medium: low-fat.
The bottom line: Eating yoghurt every day is pretty damn good for you, provided you stick with the plain, lower-fat stuff.
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