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Yoghurt explained

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Bowl of fresh mixed berries and yogurt with farm fresh strawberries blackberries and blueberries served on a wooden table

Greek Vs natural plain

Yoghurt is made when either milk or cream is fermented by adding healthy bacteria to it. After a long process the bacteria converts the lactose (milk sugar) to lactic acid. This is what gives it it’s thick consistency and tangy taste. The yoghurt is then strained through a cheesecloth and the liquid whey part of the milk drains off. Regular plain yoghurt is strained a couple of times, whereas Greek yoghurt is strained 3 times. For this reason, Greek yoghurt is more concentrated and so it is lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein than regular yoghurt (almost double the protein amount). This makes Greek yoghurt great for weight loss as the higher protein content keeps us fuller for longer and helps to maintain lean muscle mass. It is also probiotic which helps to keep the gut healthy!

Although Greek yoghurt and natural plain yogurt are both sources of calcium, Greek yoghurt is much lower in calcium. So in terms of looking after bone health, make sure you incorporate other calcium rich foods in the diet such as milk, cheese and non-dairy sources such as nuts, oily fish and green leafy veg. If you struggle to get calcium rich foods in the diet but you like to eat Greek yoghurt another option would be to incorporate both Greek and natural yoghurt into the diet. There is no added sugar in Greek and usually no added sugar in plain natural. However other non-dairy types of yoghurt such as plain soya yoghurts often do have sugar added to them. You can give Greek yoghurt and plain yoghurt a sweeter taste by adding things like fruits, coconut pieces or even some crumbled good quality dark chocolate.

Full fat Greek yoghurt Vs non-fat Greek yoghurt

Full fat Greek yoghurt and non-fat Greek yoghurt are both absolutely fine to incorporate into the diet, it really just depends on your personal preference. The carbohydrate content is the same but the protein content is higher in the non-fat Greek yoghurt. Of course, the calories and fat is higher in the full fat Greek yoghurt as this is made with whole milk. Eating the full fat Greek yoghurt would mean you had a well-balanced healthy nutritional snack that included carbohydrate, protein and fat whereas eating the non-fat Greek yoghurt would mean that you had a little more room to add some other healthy fats such as nuts, seeds or a spoonful of peanut butter. Either way, both are a healthy choice.

‘Fruit’ yoghurt

After the fermentation process fruit yoghurt (e.g. a strawberry yoghurt), is flavoured with fruit flavourings, sugar, or other sweeteners and often stabilisers, such as gelatin might be added. Fruit yoghurts that are labelled ‘low fat’ often have a high sugar content to make up for the lack of fat. An easy way to check the label is to look at the ingredients list and if sugar is close to the top of the list (as it is in descending weight order), this means it is high in sugar. Other names for sugar include: fructose, glucose, fructose syrup, honey etc. Also, don’t forget that the amount of sugar is usually only provided per 100g and usually a pot of yoghurt is usually between 125g and 150g. Fruit yoghurts are still rich in calcium and there are some lower sugar varieties. The full fat fruit yoghurts are often lower in added sugar, but this is not always the case .

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