Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The BAD/BETTER/BEST of Foods Challenge Post # 5


BAD - whole milk yogurt and low fat flavored yogurt (BAD-ish’ – non fat flavored yogurt)

Yogurt is a great source of the mineral calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth. It also contains “live active cultures”- living organisms such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which change pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation. In addition, some yogurts contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus cultures as well. These live active cultures are a hot topic in health research and show promising results in helping digestive function, boosting immunity, preventing osteoporosis and fighting cancer. But unfortunately if you choose whole milk yogurt, a lot of fat comes along with it, as much as 8-10 grams per cup, and more than 60 percent of that is saturated fat- the bad kind that is linked to heart disease. Not to mention, there are a lot of calories too, at least 200 per cup, if not more, depending if it is flavored or not. Speaking of flavored yogurt, if you grab one of those, whether it is whole or even low/non fat, you still get a yogurt packed with sugar, which also ups the calories and carbs. Most have an average of 30 or more grams of sugar per cup, equivalent to 8 teaspoons and the source is often high fructose corn syrup.

BETTER- non fat plain yogurt or “light” flavored yogurt

Pick up plain non fat plain yogurt and you can take advantage of its benefits like getting 30 percent of the daily value of calcium and live active cultures but at the cost of only about 100 calories and zero fat per cup. Protein content is decent too, with 7-12 grams per serving on average. Like some flavor? Then add your own fresh fruit or crunchy high fiber cereal to boost the taste without all that refined sugar from syrupy fruit flavoring. Watching carbs and calories and don’t mind artificial sweeteners? Then go for a “light” yogurt, which has most of the benefits of plain nonfat yogurt but is sweetened with Splenda or Aspartame to keep the sweet taste without adding a lot of calories and carbs. Most light ones average 80-100 calories per serving (which is usually 6 ounces), and have 15-19 grams of carb, 11-14grams of sugar and no fat.

BEST- non fat (0 %) Greek yogurt

Becoming increasingly popular and prevalent these days, Greek yogurt is a variety that has gone through a straining process that removes the liquid whey from the yogurt which makes it much thicker, richer and creamier, and also much higher in protein and lower in carb- it has only half the carbs but twice the protein or regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has a calcium content comparable to regular yogurt, and contains live active cultures too.. A cup of plain non fat Greek yogurt averages a little over 100 calories, has only 9 grams of carbs and sugar yet boasts a whopping 20-24 grams of protein, the equivalent to a 3 ounce chicken breast! It is also nice to use in cooking because it stands up better to the heating process and has a nice texture. Be sure to choose the non fat plain, as this yogurt also comes in whole and low fat and flavored which will be more calories (if you insist on flavored, choose the nonfat flavored and at least it will still be lower in calories, carbs and sugars than regular flavored yogurt). Try it topped with fruit, nuts or crunchy cereal. Use it as a substitute for sour cream topping. Blend it into smoothies and soups for a protein, Or try it in my White Bean and Artichoke Spread, Pina Colada Smoothie or Morning Breakfast Wrap recipes.


Shannon July 8, 2009 at 4:16 PM  

Very interesting - thanks, Marie.

One question: what do you think of probiotic yogurts? I eat Activia Light and sometimes Yo-Plus, and I like them - but don't know if they're any better for me than the normal stuff.

Oh, and I just bought some nonfat greek yogurt so I can make your lemon blueberry muffins!

THE ACTORS DIET July 8, 2009 at 8:42 PM  

Greek yogurt is the best! Where has it been all my life?

Marie July 8, 2009 at 9:49 PM  

Yes, Greek yogurt is awesome, wish I had found out about it sooner!

Shannon- I have not personally tried activa but I have heard good things about it.

Totally forgot I put the yogurt in that muffin recipe..hope you like it!! :)

Julie Tharalson July 31, 2009 at 6:30 PM  

Hi Marie-
Nice post! I've loved Greek yogurt for years, you just can't beat the texture. Unfortunately I always seem to eat it before I'm able to cook anything with it. I'm looking forward to trying some of your yummy recipes.

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