Yogurt can be a versatile part of breakfast, a quick mid-day snack, or a satisfying dessert. Navigating the dairy isle to find the tastiest and most nutritious yogurt can be overwhelming--or even frustrating. From health claims to the array of flavors, understanding how healthy fruit yogurt is (or is not) can help you in your selection.
"Probiotics" is one of the latest buzz words in the nutrition industry. The term refers to bacteria that may be beneficial to your health. This type of good bacteria can help restore a healthy gastrointestinal tract, and aid in immune function. Only yogurts labeled as containing "live and active cultures" contain probiotics 1.
Milk is the primary ingredient in yogurt, making the final product nutritionally similar to milk. Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, providing about 20% of the daily value of the mineral. It also supplies your body with B vitamins, potassium, zinc and magnesium.
Milk used to make yogurt contains natural sugars. However, fruit yogurts tend to be high in added sugar, compromising the overall nutritional value. An average 6-oz. serving of fruit yogurt packs about 27 g of sugar--that is the equivalent of nearly 7 tsp. The increased calories from added sugars greatly decreases, and perhaps even outweighs, the benefits of eating yogurt.
Instead of buying fruit yogurt, purchase a plain variety and add your own flavors. An obvious choice is fruit, and the selection is endless. Fresh fruit is bright in color and flavor, while dried fruit has a slight tang and a chewy texture, which contrasts with the yogurt's consistency. If you want a sweeter outcome, use honey or jelly made without added sugar. Cereals, granola and nuts provide a crunch and lend another layer of flavor to the plain yogurt.
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