Sunday, 6 November 2011

Yogurt: Health Food or Dessert?

I’ve recently read a few chapters out of “What to Eat” by Marion Nestle, and one chapter in particular kept my attention simply because I can admit to falling victim to the assumption that all yogurts make a healthy snack.  The author makes her opinion clear, saying “Yogurt, it seems, has performed a marketing miracle; it is a fast-selling dairy dessert with the aura of a health food”.

When you see all kinds of yogurts lined up in the grocery store, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the choices of flavours that lay before you.  There seems to be a common theme between all the different flavours – that being sweetness.  Some fruit flavoured yogurts may very well have real fruit in them, but there are plenty that simply add concentrated fruit juices and added colours just to contribute to the visual of the “fruitiness”.  The sweeter the flavour of your yogurt, the more sweeteners your yogurt is bound to contain – fructose, fruit concentrates, corn syrup, and other artificial sweeteners.  To contribute to the health food aura yogurt tries to maintain, fruit flavours are what you’ll find most of when you visit the grocery store.

                   Since most of these fruit-flavoured yogurts will contain more sugar than fruit, your best bet is to buy a plain yogurt and add fresh fruit to it – you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into!  A great way to consume this is to make it into a smoothie – that way you still feel as if you’re getting a treat. One cup of non-fat or low-fat milk, ¾ cup of plain yogurt and around ¾ cup of your favourite frozen fruit blended together are good proportions to start off with (if you’re using fresh fruit, add a couple ice cubes as needed to thicken it up).  I find using a mixture of strawberries and pineapples helps avoid the temptation to add refined sugar – they sweeten your smoothie naturally! Enjoy J

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