Sunday, October 9, 2011

What you need to know about Yogurt

After watching an episode of Dr. Oz the other night, in which he talked about yogurt, I decided to do a little research of my own.  Below is what I found out.  

I never knew - did you?
#1 To make yogurt the bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, two good bacteria that are not only good for you but are required by FDA standards for yogurt, are added to a warm milk bath where they proceed to ferment and coagulate into a semisolid, producing tangy lactic acid along the way.  Manufacturers can add other probiotics but they’re not required nor regulated by FDA.
#2 When buying yogurt, look at the seal.  Established by the National Yogurt Association, the seal indicates that the manufacturer is promising that the yogurt contains at least 100 million active starter cultures per gram when manufactured.
#3 Make sure you’re getting all the active cultures you’re paying.  Some yogurts are heat-treated after fermentation, which neutralizes the good-for-you bacteria required for production, meaning that the potential health benefits are neutralized too.  Check the packaging:  The FDA mandates that these yogurts be labeled “heat-treated after culturing.”  If your yogurt is not heat-treated, the package may say “active yogurt cultures,” “living yogurt cultures,” or “contains active cultures.”
#4 Don’t pour off the clear liquid that often separates and floats to the top of many yogurts.  Stir it in.  This contains a little protein and some of the tart flavor.
#5 Frozen “yogurt” is not regulated by the FDA meaning the scoop in your cone could be made entirely from yogurt or it could be ice cream with a little yogurt stirred in.  Watch for the seal assuring that it is actually life and active cultures.
#6 Watch for added sugars.  Scan the ingredient list for added sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, maple syrup, or fruit juice concentrate.  Six ounces of typical plain nonfat yogurt have about 11 grams of natural sugar and 80 calories.  Flavored varieties can add as much as 14 extra grams of sugar and 50+ calories.

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