Yogurt is a dairy product made by fermenting milk with a yogurt culture. It provides protein and calcium, and it may enhance healthy gut bacteria. Health benefits range from protecting against osteoporosis to relieving irritable bowel disease and aiding digestion, but these depend on the type of yogurt consumed.
However, added sugar and processing can make some yogurt products unhealthy. Yogurt starts as fresh milk or cream. It is often first pasteurized, then fermented with various live bacteria cultures, and incubated at a specific temperature to encourage bacteria growth.
- The culture ferments the lactose, the natural sugar found in milk. This produces lactic acid, which gives yogurt its distinctive flavor. Here’s some fast facts about yogurt
- Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with a yogurt culture.
- Health benefits can include promoting bone health and aiding digestion.
- Some yogurts contain active, living bacteria known as probiotics, which can help keep the intestines healthy.
- Yogurt products that go through heat treatment have no active bacteria, reducing the health benefits. Yogurt-covered raisins are an example.
Yogurts contain calcium, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, potassium, and magnesium. The amounts depend on the type. Yogurt can be a tasty, nutritious addition to any diet. However, there are plenty of different yogurts, and some are more healthful than others. There are many types of yogurt that provide varying levels of nutritional benefit.
Whether yogurt is a healthful choice depends on the person consuming it and the type of yogurt. Yogurts can be high in protein, calcium, vitamins, and live culture, or probiotics, which can enhance the gut microbiota. These can offer protection for bones and teeth and help prevent digestive problems.
Low-fat yogurt can be a useful source of protein on a weight-loss diet. Probiotics may boost the immune system. Some argue that they could also impact brain functioning, too, although more research is necessary to confirm some of these claims.
In 2014, researchers found that consuming yogurt may help protect against type 2 diabetes. Other types of dairy product did not appear to impact the likelihood of developing the condition. Other scientists have suggested that yogurt containing probiotic bacteria successfully protects children and pregnant women against the effects of heavy metal exposure.
It is also a nutritious option when people find it difficult to chew their food. Non-dairy yogurts offer an alternative for people who do not consume dairy or animal products or have allergies or intolerances. Yogurt contains less lactose than milk because the lactose is used up in the fermentation process.
Not all yogurts are healthful. Those without added sugar or unnecessary additives can be a healthful addition to the diet, but some products have high quantities of added sugar and other ingredients that may not be beneficial.
Natural yogurt can be a low-calorie, high-nutrient food packed with protein. However, many manufacturers add sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that are not healthful. All yogurts contain some natural sugars, but consumers are advised to look for a product with less than 15 grams of sugar per serving. The lower the sugar, the better, as long as it does not contain any artificial sweeteners.
Some studies have refuted the view that yogurt consumption is linked to good health, causing authorities to question whether health claims can be made for commercial purposes. However, people who eat yogurt are more likely to have an otherwise healthy diet.