This Week’s Question : Will Yogurt Make Me Fat?
If you're worried about how much yogurt is enough, and if yogurt will make you fat in larger amounts, then look no further. The answer lies in the fact that yogurt is not a fat-burning food (Obviously no food actually burns fat)! It is all about understanding the science behind a particular food, in this case - yogurt, and gaining an understanding about the potential health benefits or hazards, which will guide you in making informed and wise dietary decisions. However, having said that, it is important to note that eating non-fat yogurt might help in displacing empty calories in your diet, thus promoting weight loss. Today, with expert inputs from Neelanjana Singh, Nutritionist at Heinz Nutrition Foundation India (New Delhi) let us understand the dietary composition of yogurt and whether it will really make you fat or not...
First of all, let us gain an insight over the nutritional composition of one cup yogurt. The nutritive value of the yogurt will depend on the kind of milk that is used to set the yogurt. The calorie content varies greatly based on the fat content of the milk. One cup (200g) yogurt made of buffalo milk has 234 calories whereas the same amount made from cow’s milk has 134 calories. The protein content of the 2 kinds of yogurt will not be very different i.e. about 8.6g for the buffalo milk yogurt and 6.4g for the cow’s milk. There will be differences in the calcium and phosphorous content of the 2 kinds of yogurt.
Now, let us understand the dietary fats and dairy recommendation allowed in a day. The requirements of dietary fats and dairy would depend on the age group. For an adult, the requirement of dairy products is a minimum of 150ml per day. These requirements are higher for children and for women during pregnancy and lactation. The minimum requirement of dairy may need to be increased for vegetarians if the protein requirements are not quite adequately met.
If the yogurt is processed, is it still healthy? On being processed, yogurt is bound to lose some of the beneficial properties in the form of live bacteria. The other components such as protein and minerals may not be altered very much by processing.
Homemade yogurt versions work for everybody. The homemade versions of curd yogurt have a variety of bacteria. Every home has its own unique blend of bacteria in the form of its starter culture. Such a diverse mix of bacteria is hard to find in the commercially prepared versions which has either one or two strains of bacteria/beneficial micro-organisms in specified amounts. If one wants to include it in everyday diet without much fuss, it could be done in the form a smoothie with added seasonal fruits.
Is Greek yogurt a good substitute to plain old yogurt? The Greek version of yogurt tends to be less sweet and tangier than the conventional yogurt. The Greek version is thicker and smoother as it is usually strained. Straining removes some amount of lactose and the resultant yogurt is lower in sugar and higher in protein content.
Substitute non-fat yogurt with sour cream or cream cheese. Such a substitution makes it possible to get the benefit of yogurt in a recipe without altering, very much, the original taste of the dish. Low fat yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium and beneficial bacteria as opposed to sour cream which is mostly loaded with fat.
Bottom-Line: For most adults leading sedentary lives, non-fat yogurt remains a good choice. However, there may be a need for some amount of fat (low fat versions) in children and also when there is a higher calorie requirement as in pregnancy and lactation. Ideally, go for homemade versions of yogurt and it will NOT make you fat.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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