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Which 5 yoghurts should you eat!

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There’s no comfort food like a plate of dahi-khichdi. Well, we’ve savoured the humble yoghurt (fermented milk product), with or without sugar, way before it evolved with various flavours and toppings into a healthy dessert and packaged-flavoured varieties. But how true are their claims? The practice of choosing a healthy yoghurt is all about reading the labels to check the nutrition facts (looking for added sugars and protein content) and the ingredient list (to avoid additives and sweeteners). Refined sugar will show up in most flavoured yoghurts, you might consider choosing a plain yoghurt and adding your own fruits or berries. Note: although common ingredients like pectin and guar gum are derived from plant sources, their presence is a sign of a poorer-quality product. Here’s how to select the healthiest variety from the counter.

Whole-milk yoghurt
Recent studies are beginning to show less of an association between dietary fat intake and heart disease. In fact, in a recent study, researchers found that those who consumed high-fat milk, butter and cream were less likely to become obese over a period of 12 years compared to men who never or rarely ate high-fat dairy. Another study, found that in most of the studies, high-fat dairy was associated with a lower risk of obesity. A major health benefit of full-fat yoghurt is that it hardly contains the thickeners and additives that are used to achieve proper consistency and flavour in lowfat yoghurts. Whole-milk yoghurt is a convenient way to pack in a lot of nutrition. So, let the calories be.

Soya yoghurt
This takes the debate over the soya milk a step further. Soya yoghurt is made from cultured soya milk and does not contain any dairy. It is suita ble for people with lactose intolerance and those who follow a vegan diet. The same bacterial strains used to culture dairy based yoghurts – L acidophilus and S thermophilus -are used in soya-based ones. Their nutrient content is similar to that of dairy yoghurts, except that the saturated fat content of soya yoghurts is much lower than that of dahis made from whole milk.

But health freaks going in for the soya variety, note: they tend to contain cornstarch.

Lactose-free yoghurt
Lactose-free yoghurt is essentially made of cow’smilk yoghurt that has been treated to break down the lactose, or milk sugar, that irritates people with lactose intolerance. Consuming lactose may cause lactose-intolerant people to experience gas, bloating and abdominal pain.

Lactose-free yoghurt is good for them as it gives them access to a healthy source of calcium, protein and probiotics. The nutrition profile of lactose-free yoghurt is similar to that of regular varieties, although they often come in a variety of flavours, including plain vanilla, and strawberry, which contain sugar, gums and artificial flavours.

Flavoured yoghurt
This one’s a nutritional disaster.
Most of the flavour in these yoghurts come from added sugar and sweeteners; not to mention, colour and artificial fruit.
Although fruited or flavoured yoghurts are often low in fat, consumers may inadvertently end up consuming the same amount of calories as they would with the full-fat ones. If you like flavoured yoghurts, look for brands that have ingredients like just milk, sugar or other naturally occurring sweeteners, and active cultures. Stay away from anything that contains high-fructose corn syrup. Those looking for a natural feed, steer clear.

Low-fat yoghurts
Low or nonfat yoghurt contains a healthy dose of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium.

Dietary potassium is linked to a reduced risk of developing kidney stones and decreased bone loss. The nutritional quality of yoghurt can be diminished if thickeners and sweeteners are added to replace the flavour and texture lost with the removed fat.
When selecting a brand, look for something that contain live bacterial cultures. Reduced-fat versions may contain other portions of dairy products, including cream, buttermilk and milk, to achieve ideal textures.

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