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Is today's store bought Yogurt really good for me?

mcel215 Mar 24, 2013 10:29 AM

Okay, I know it's not bad for me, but is there really any health benefits to commercial yogurt?

This isn't a post to argue, I am really confused.

I've read and read about the pros and cons, but ultimately I'm coming away with the feeling that's it's so processed nowadays, there isn't much of the good bacteria in it to help anyone's digestive system. I mean, why am I eating it then?

I will add that I have been growing my own kefir and using that. I use raw milk from a reputable farm here in Ma., so I don't think I even need to eat yogurt really.

Recently I bought Greek yogurt unflavored and have been adding fresh fruit, but it's not knocking my socks off in the flavor department. So if I am not gaining anything good for me, I'll change my afternoon snack.

So, any of you science/health major people have any advice for me? I'm tired ot searching google with all kinds of jargon or fancy advertising that gets me nowhere.

Thanks.

www.saffron215.blogspot.com

  1. j
    janniecooks Mar 24, 2013 11:47 AM

    Look for plain yogurt with active live cultures. Or make your own from powdered yogurt starter or use a store-bought plain full fat yogurt as the starter.

    Plain, unadulterated yogurt, whether purchased or home made, is the healthy yogurt. Activia, yoplait, and those other heavily advertised yogurts with added sugars, gelatin, guar gum, etc etc are not as healthy as plain unadulterated yogurt with live active cultures. I'm not sure yogurt qualifies as a health food in all diets - dairy has lots of milk sugars - but it is high in protein and calcium, and the live bacteria are good for the gut (but not all packaged yogurt contain live cultures - read the label). In moderation, not a bad food.

    I prefer yogurt slightly sweetened, so in addition to fresh fruit, I add artificial sweetener because I choose not to use other sweeteners. But honey, jams or jellies, agave nectar, or even sugar, in small amounts are fine. One of my favorite combinations is a tablespoon of left-over cranberry sauce in my Fage.

    No one *needs* yogurt in a healthy diet. But it is not bad for you, in moderation.

    4 Replies
    1. re: janniecooks
      mcel215 Mar 24, 2013 03:27 PM

      Thanks Jannie,

      Love your ideas for the add ins to plain yogurt. :)

      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

      1. re: mcel215
        coney with everything Mar 25, 2013 06:02 AM

        Date syrup...something I discovered recently is lovely with Fage plain (slightly OT but Bing didn't find anything on "date syrup", Google got me this:http://www.maximpalms.com/health+nutr...

        )

        also fantastic on oatmeal!

        1. re: coney with everything
          mcel215 Mar 25, 2013 11:51 AM

          Thanks coney,

          I'll have to see if my local Wholefoods caries it.

          www.saffron215.blogspot.com

          1. re: mcel215
            coney with everything Mar 26, 2013 04:26 AM

            if you have a Middle Eastern market, it might be worth checking as well.

    2. goodhealthgourmet Mar 24, 2013 11:59 AM

      Depends on the yogurt. IMHO the flavored ones with all that sugar added are equivalent to junk food. I personally think that high-quality unsweetened Greek yogurt with live, active cultures and no added thickeners is really the only healthful choice - it's a decent source of protein & probiotics. And yes, it provides calcium, but most Greek yogurt isn't fortified with vitamin D, so you'd need to add other foods or supplements to absorb the calcium anyway.

      Your kefir is an even better source of good bacteria, and I assume you get plenty of protein from other foods, so as far as I can tell yogurt provides no real health benefit for you. If you don't love it there's no need to force yourself to eat it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
        mcel215 Mar 24, 2013 03:25 PM

        Thanks ghg,

        You answered my questons perfectly. I don't love the yogurt and I am getting (hopefully), enough good bacteria from the kefir.

        www.saffron215.blogspot.com

      2. johnb Mar 24, 2013 12:09 PM

        The nutritional content of yoghurt is the same as the milk from which it is made. In addition, if it has live cultures and you believe those are good for you, then fine. I believe most commercial yoghurt has live cultures. I doubt the little buggers have much awareness of whether they grew in a big commercial vat or in your kitchen. As to sugar and guar gum etc., if you believe those things are bad for you then fine, eat plain yoghurt or make your own, but science doesn't provide much support for the idea that they are truly harmful, certainly not in the quantities you are likely to get from eating a reasonable amount of commercial yoghurt.

        In general, I think you are over-thinking this one, and IMO you'd likely do yourself a favor by using your worry energy on larger issues. Just my 2¢.

        1. j
          jaykayen Mar 24, 2013 12:12 PM

          what do you mean, good for you? for people who actually have flora problems, eating yogurt is probably not the answer to their woes.

          for people with normal, healthy digestive systems, the best thing you can do, IMO, is eat a high fiber diet.

          1. f
            foodieX2 Mar 24, 2013 12:29 PM

            Plain, unsweetened yogurt is a better choice than ones high in sugar or artificial sweeteners. Definitely a better choice than ones with artificial colors, flavors and dyes.

            Most plain, unsweetened yogurts are minimally processed and as another poster pointed out the live cultures don't really care whether done in small batches at home or in a commercial kitchen.

            If the only reason you are eating it is for the supposed health benefits but you don't really care for it I would say that if you are overall healthy and have no digestive issue skip it. Don't eat it if you don't like it!

            1. g
              GH1618 Mar 24, 2013 12:30 PM

              It's food, not medicine. If it doesn't have added sugar, it's healthy food. Foods that "knock your socks off" are quite likely to be bad for you, in my opinion.

              1. sunshine842 Mar 24, 2013 02:10 PM

                assuming that it has live active cultures (it should) having a quick read on "probiotics" might give you an idea.

                I can't say I've drank the kool-aid, but modern life is so full of stresses (emotional and environmental) that I'm really not seeing a downside to making sure that you maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora.

                I started eating plain unsweetened yogurt every day a few months ago....and I'm the only member of the household who hasn't been sick this winter (even the dog was sick this year!)

                1 Reply
                1. re: sunshine842
                  EWSflash Mar 24, 2013 07:08 PM

                  A live-culture yogurt will have had a great deal, if not most or al, of the lactose removed, since that's what the lactobacilli feed on.

                2. t
                  tastesgoodwhatisit Mar 24, 2013 06:33 PM

                  As others have said, there's a difference between active culture yoghurt with no added sugar or other stuff, and yoghurt based snack foods loaded with sugar and a sea of random chemicals.

                  One thing to note, though, is that yoghurt is not a diet food. There's a fair amount of naturally occurring milk sugars, plus whatever fat content the original milk had. Fat free yoghurt tends to have stuff added to it because yoghurt with fat has a nicer mouth feel than that made with skim milk.

                  A single serving (170 g / 6 oz) tub of fruit yoghurt can have from 90 calories (fat free/artificially sweetened) to 170 (fat free sweetened, full fat Greek with real fruit) to 230 (fat free yoghurt with fruit and granola).

                  1. Chemicalkinetics Mar 24, 2013 07:34 PM

                    <there isn't much of the good bacteria in it to help anyone's digestive system>

                    Well, the original concept of using yogurt bacterial stain to popular digestive tract is a bunch of nonsense anyway. As such, yes, it is true that today's yogurt will not produce good bacteria for your gut flora, but neither the previous yogurt. They never did.

                    < I mean, why am I eating it then?>

                    Because there are other benefits.

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