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The pros (and cons) of eating yogurt

The pros (and cons) of eating yogurt

Food
Woman eating yogurt

Grocery store shelves packed with yogurt varieties speak to just how popular the food has become.
Touted widely for its health benefits, yogurt can be quite good for you – if you choose wisely.
“So long as you’re careful about selecting the right type, yogurt can be both a delicious and healthy component of your diet,” says Kelsey Tiller, a registered dietitian with Tidelands Health. “It can help fill you up, give you long-lasting energy and promote healthy behavior throughout the day.”

Nutritional punch

Yogurt packs a punch by delivering protein, potassium, calcium and, in many cases, probiotics. Research has linked it to improved heart and digestive health, enhanced vitamin synthesis and stronger immune function, Tiller says.
To capitalize on the health benefits of yogurt, however, you’ll need to make smart choices at the grocery store.

Traditional or Greek yogurt?

Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as traditional yogurt, which helps keep you feeling full longer. However, traditional yogurt offers a milder taste and thinner texture, which some people may favor.

Fat free, low fat or whole milk?

In general, depending on your dietary needs, it’s best to choose low-fat or fat-free yogurts versus their full-fat counterparts. Lots of options are available.

Added fruit, flavored or plain?

Unsweetened, plain yogurt is best, but can be an acquired taste for some people. To dress it up and infuse more flavor, try adding fresh or frozen fruit, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drop of honey, peanut or almond butter, seeds or nuts, a sprinkle of nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice or a dash of vanilla flavoring.
Flavored yogurts and yogurts with fruit on the bottom may be tempting, but they are often loaded with sugar. In some cases, a single serving of those types of yogurts delivers nearly the American Heart Association’s recommended sugar intake for an entire day (25 grams of sugar for women and 36 grams for men).
Sugar-free flavors are safe and can be a great option, but artificial sweeteners can set your taste buds up to crave more sweets throughout the day.
“The more sweets we taste, whether it’s sugar or a non-nutritive sweetener, the more sweets we want, making it harder to break the cycle of reaching for sweets throughout the day,” Tiller explains.
Unsweetened yogurt can also be a great substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream, which tend to be caloric and laden with unhealthy saturated fats.
“There are lots of ways to incorporate yogurt into your diet and experience its health benefits,” Tiller says. “Be creative – use it instead of sour cream in tacos, make a delicious strawberry smoothie with it or even use it to create a healthy and tasty dip. The sky really is the limit.”

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