Until I read The China Study a few months ago, yogurt was a daily staple in my diet. Why? Because I enjoyed the taste and felt it was a way to meet my calcium needs. After reading The China Study, my views about dairy changed drastically and I have since started limiting ALL dairy foods. (If you care to learn more about why I choose to limit dairy, I highly recommend reading The China Study OR catching up on a few posts: Should We Be Eating Dairy, How To Get Your Calcium Without Dairy, Laury’s 6 Reasons To Avoid Dairy.)
However, we don’t all share the same views about dairy, and I realize that most people eat yogurt on a daily basis. So, it only makes sense that yogurt be put to the question: IS IT HEALTHY??
Yogurt was a reasonably healthy food until food manufacturers processed the crap out of it, killed all the probiotic cultures, and then filled it with loads of added sugar. If you haven’t noticed a trend this week, it is all these added sugars in seemingly “healthy foods” that are deceiving us! Fortunately, probiotics were added back in to the yogurt, but the health of yogurt still comes in to question when you take a closer look at the nutrition facts label: sugar, organic sugar, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, Red Dye, Blue Dye, Yellow Dye.
I wonder how much sugar is lurking in there?
So what is a consumer to do? This is my best advice:
I know I have mentioned this in my post about “How To Pick a Healthy Yogurt,” but it IS important to choose organic IF you decide to eat dairy. Non-organic brands contain antibiotics and hormones. Antibiotics KILL friendly (probiotics), along with unfriendly bacteria! If you are eating the yogurt for digestive health, it’s a little counter-intuitive no?
I would avoid any brands that contain artificial sweeteners or colors. If you are a daily or weekly yogurt person, switch to brands that contain ZERO artificial sweeteners or dyes! Studies have shown they can cause cancer! I would rather have 50 more calories than risk that.
Most brands, even organic brands, are LOADED with sugar. Why? Because food manufacturers know we are addicted to it. We get SO MUCH sugar in all our food that our taste buds are accustomed to the sweet. Of course you are going to think PLAIN yogurt tastes sour or bland…you are used to eating foods that have just as much sweetener as a candy bar! Make the switch to PLAIN organic yogurts and give it a try for a solid month; add your own berries or dried fruits or a teensy drizzle of honey. I promise you will eventually get accustomed to the change in taste and best of all? YOU will be in control of the additives.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Now they might start calling it “corn sugar,” but it is an ingredient I avoid and I suggest you do too. You can read briefly about my thoughts on HFCS in my post entitled: Carbs: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
I realize that many of you may have already read my post on How To Pick a Healthy Yogurt and might be thinking my opinions have changed or become more stern. You’re right. Since writing that post almost a year ago, my views and perspectives on many products have dramatically changed. Nutrition literally changes on a daily basis and I try my best to evolve as a dietitian the more information I learn.
I want to share my own perspective on nutrition topics and that is why I blog. I understand that not every one is a “health nut,” but you honestly don’t have to be. I’m not trying to change you, just offer an alternative perspective. Ignorance is NOT bliss (in my opinion); at least READ about why certain foods are healthy or not and educate yourself on what foods could honestly be killing you.
I always welcome interaction, comments, and questions on anything I blog about. I promise I will try to share my viewpoint in the best way I know how! I never intend to offend anyone, but realize this could happen. I only ask that you always keep an open mind. Don’t completely scoff at a topic I may have written or a suggestion I may have made. Instead, ask questions!!