Yogurt- to eat or not to eat it plain and 0%?

It is perhaps one of the most universally accepted food misconceptions: plain, non-fat yogurt is the healthiest of the yogurts. Why is this myth believed? For the simple reasons that it is low in fat, and has less sugar than other yogurts (and perhaps because it tastes like it should be healthy for you!?).
Unfortunately, it is one of those myths that everyone just believes without second guessing it. If there is one thing you have to remember when it comes to healthy eating and nutrition, it is to NOT BELIEVE everything you hear; Keep an open mind and use your common sense.For example, yogurt is a healthy food item. It is made from milk, is chalk full of calcium, is easy to eat, comes in a million flavors, makes for a great snack anytime, and the list goes on. So why be soooooo picky about the kind you buy?

If you break down the difference between a 0%, artificially flavored/sweetened yogurt and, let’s be crazy, a 3% yogurt with added fruit and sugar, the breakdown would go something like this:

 

1/2 cup of 0%, no sugar added
Total fat : 0 to 0.5g (OR 1/10 a tsp. of fat)
Total Carbs : 7g (OR 1 1/2 tsp sugar)

 

 

 

1/2 cup of 3%, regular
Total fat : 3g (OR 1/2 a tsp. of fat)
Total carbs : 15g (OR 3 tsp. of sugar)THE DIFFERENCE: There is 1/2 tsp. less of fat in the 0% and 1 1/2 tsp. less of sugar. When the average adults needs 13tsp. of fat in a day a mere 1/2 tsp. really will not affect anything. As for the sugar, studies have proved that even with people with diabetes, an added tsp. of sugar will not affect their blood sugars- let alone health.

Why did I compare the total amount of carbs instead of sugar? For the simple reason that the “grams of sugar” on the Nutrition Facts table includes the sugar we find naturally in the milk used to make the yogurt, any sugar from the fruit and any added sugar. Just because one has more sugar, does not necessarily means it has more added sugar. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, so is starch- that is why they are located under carbs on the table. So, if you are looking to see the impact of a yogurt on your blood sugars you have to analyze the total amount of carbs since both sugar and starch (i.e. carbs in general) break down into blood sugar.

It is interesting to note that yogurts ranging from 0% to 3.3% are all lumped into the same category: regular, everyday yogurts. There is no sub-category “really, really healthy yogurts” and just “plain ‘ole healthy yogurts”.
Just because a food is labeled as low fat does not make it healthy- think beer and gummy bears. Same goes for “low in sugar”, it all depends on the product and the difference between its sugar content and its competitors.

There are many factors that should play a role in your choice of yogurts. “Diet” yogurts tend to melt in your mouth and leave much to be desired in terms of feeling satisfied after eating them. The point of eating is to feel satisfied both mentally and physically. The difference in sugar and fat content is negligible so use your senses to pick out a yogurt next time.

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