Yogurt is good for you…..most of the time!

I thought I would write a little about a very popular topic-Yogurt. When I was young, there were just a few types of yogurt; plain, fruit on the bottom or fruit mixed in. Today, we have Greek, drinkable, flavored, pops, organic, low fat, high fat, no fat, and even non-dairy!

What makes a product “yogurt”?  When live cultures (good bacteria) are added to milk, it changes into a sour, thicker substance known as yogurt. All yogurts contain live cultures. Some yogurts, such as Activia, actually have extra cultures added.  These cultures are very good for a healthy gut and may promote less diarrhea, constipation, or general GI distress. All yogurts contain various amounts of Calcium, Protein, Vitamin D and B vitamins.

What is the difference between regular and Greek yogurts? Greek yogurt has the whey (the calcium-rich liquid portion that separates off the yogurt) strained off.  While it is thicker and contains more protein, Greek yogurt has less calcium than regular yogurt.

Do all yogurts have sugar? Yes, all yogurts contain natural sugar, called Lactose, or milk sugar. Most yogurts have less lactose than milk because the bacteria in yogurt digest the lactose. For those who are lactose intolerant, yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein they should be able to tolerate.  Some yogurts have “added sugar” such as sucrose or other sweeteners. Yogurts that are low in fat may be high in sugar, so the healthiest option is to get plain yogurt and add your own fruits or other goodies, like granola, for added sweetness.

Is Non dairy yogurt good for you? Since these yogurts are not made from milk, they will be a product of soy or nut protein, and are not a significant source of calcium or protein.

Preferred Yogurt

As you can see, all yogurts are NOT created equally. I recommend the basic regular or Greek yogurts, with or without fruit.

One thing to remember, yogurt does contain calcium, but not as much as milk. One cup of milk has 300g of calcium, vs roughly 135g of calcium in one 5.3 oz serving of yogurt, so you need three servings of yogurt to equal the amount of calcium in one cup of milk.

Enjoy yogurt….now you know what you are eating and where it fits in your diet!

Happy Nutrition month!

Dr. Barbara Kolp-Jurss, MD, RD

Lake Country Pediatrics, S.C. / Delafield Pediatrics