One thing that I have always wanted to look into more is yogurt…especially the natural kind. Like everyone it has always been one of those controversial conversations you get into with people as to if you should have low fat or full fat yogurt? I wanted to know for myself if I should make the switch from my usual full fat natural yogurt to low fat…here is what I found…
Natural low fat vs Full fat… both kinds are packed full of protein which helps you to feel fuller for longer. They are a good source of calcium and probiotics that help you to have a healthy gut. The only difference between the 2 is one is made with skimmed milk and the other whole milk… Eating full fat will not make you fat eating too much will. Like with everything it should be eaten in moderation. Low fat yogurt is likely to taste thinner and therefore not as filling as full fat. This may cause you to eat more of it or find yourself hungry for more. Low fat dairy products may contain vegetable gums and other additives to produce a thicker, creamier texture so always check your labels.
Low fat greek vs Full fat… Greek yogurt is made by straining even more of the whey from it. This means that even the low fat greek yogurt is thick and creamy and contains just as much protein. The biggest difference between the 2 is of course the fat content and the difference in calories. Deciding on which one is better really depends on the person eating it… if you have a reduced calorie allowance and are wanting to keep your calorie’s down or want to reduce your fat in take then opt for low fat. If you have a high calorie allowance, and are not meeting it then its a good way to increase those calories. If you prefer the creamier taste and eat very little fat in your diet then it is a good choice. Greek yogurt can only be named this if it is produced in Greece so some of the greek style yogurts you see on the shelf could be just as good… although I do not find them as thick and creamy.
Greek vs Natural yogurt… I think this largely depends on your taste and how you will be using it. I like natural yogurt for cooking, it tends to be cheaper and makes a great ice-cream when mixed with frozen fruit. Greek yogurt is higher in protein gram for gram and lower in carbohydrates. It is more filling and you can eat much less of it to feel satisfied. Its a good choice for a thicker yogurt based dip.
Scientists believe that you are likely to eat less of the full fat variety compared to the low fat variety due to it being more satisfying but if you are finding you are eating more then opt for the low fat natural yogurts or weigh and keep the portion size reasonable. Some people believe that low fat varieties are over processed and this was largely the reason I have always eaten full fat. This can be the case with a lot of low fat foods but is not usually the case when it comes to yogurt and milk. It is also believed that when people avoid eating fat they turn to carbohydrates which can cause weight gain.
By eating low fat made with skimmed milk we could be missing out on some fat soluble vitamins A and E so if you are opting for low fat dairy make sure you are getting these important nutrients from other sources.
There is no proven study that I can find that says one is better than the other so my advise is to evaluate what is important to you and make the decision accordingly until research tells us otherwise. Do not be afraid of fat though, we do need it. Over eating any kind of food will make you gain weight… everything in moderation.
Whats in my yogurt….
You can get the nutritional content of FAGE Total greek yogurt here.
Ingredients: Fromage Frais (from Milk), Sugar, Cream (from Milk), Strawberry Puree 2.5%
Ingredients: Fromage Frais (from Milk), Water, Cream (from Milk), Sugar 4.9%, Fruit Puree from Concentrates (5.0% Strawberry, 4.5% Raspberry)
Ingredients: Organic Fromage Frais (Milk), Organic Concentrated Grape Juice, Organic Raspberry Purée (5%), Milk Protein
(Note I got these below thinking they would be the same but bigger but they actually were not…. they contain “organic sugar” and organic or not its simply sugar. However they are the lowest ones I have found so far in the kids section and when you compare to the refined sugar free ones above they actually only have 1g of extra sugar in the pot. It could be worse)
Ingredients: Organic Whole Milk Yogurt (88%), Organic Peach Purée (5%), Organic Sugar
Contains only semi-skimmed milk
The Sugars in this are all natural sugars. Nothing added.
Contains only skimmed milk
Contains only whole milk
Ingredients: Reconstituted Skimmed Milk, Skimmed Milk, Strawberry (12%), Skimmed Milk Powder, Fructose Syrup (1%)
Sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame K
Ingredients: Yogurt (Milk), Strawberries (10%), Water, Fructose, Sweetener: Aspartame
Strawberry: Organic Low Fat Yogurt (Milk), Organic Concentrated Grape Juice, Organic Strawberries (5%)
When it comes to the flavoured yogurt pots its a no brainer… they have added sugar to make them taste better. They are also less filling therefore you are likely to resort to more snacking when it doesn’t satisfy your hunger. How many of you can honestly say you find them satisfying? Yummy yes but not really satisfying your hunger pangs. If the sugar doesn’t put you off and you still want to eat these then opt for lower sugar ones and check the ingredients list… some of the sugar in them will come from the lactose which is ok and some from the fruit in them which again is ok. Its the added sugar that has no other nutritional value to it other than being more calorific. I have found a sugar free option which is the Yeo yogurts above. The rest have added sweeteners or sugars and its considered as bad to have some of these sweeteners as it is actual sugar so keep this in mind when eating them…
I will be trying out several natural yogurts to find the most filling and tastiest one but will continue to opt for the natural yogurts over sweet flavoured ones and add my own topping.