Articles

Food & fluids

The active life of yoghurt

Yoghurt is consumed worldwide and is believed to have originated accidentally 3000 years ago in Turkey when herdsmen noticed the milk they carried in animal stomach containers had curdled as it reacted with the natural enzymes present in the stomach pouches.

Although the methods of yoghurt production have drastically changed over the years the broad principles of using bacterium to alter milk is the same.
For those unable to tolerate cow’s milk it may be comforting to know that around the world yoghurt is made using milk from other animals e.g. goats, camels, ewes and water buffalos.
While yoghurt is available using coconut milk the protein is lower and saturated fats and sugar content is generally higher than conventional yoghurt. Depending on your needs Almond yoghurt may prove to be a healthier alternative for those seeking dairy free.

Yoghurt is a “live” food

Yoghurt is made using lactobacillus bulgaricus and stretococcus thermophilus bacteria which convert milk to yoghurt via a fermentation process which converts lactose to lactic acid. This conversion not only alters the protein to create the texture and sour flavour characteristic of yoghurt today but also enables people who may be otherwise lactose intolerant to digest milk more easily.

Yoghurt is considered a ‘live”food as many of the microorganisms it contains also exist naturally in the human gut. Many of these bacterai are beneficial to our health and are known as probiotics such as lactobacilli (L.acidophilis and L. casei) and bifidobacteria (L.animalis and L.lactis)

Market trends

Yoghurt is big business today, available in single serve and kilogram pottles, manufactures are responding to the changing lifestyle of consumers.

According to Euromonitor International 2018 was another year of growth in the yoghurt market in New Zealand with strong innovation happening in the growth of Greek flavours.

Drinking yoghurt is also gaining popularity here particularly the use of drinking pouches and single serve yoghurt that are targeting young children.

yoghurt containing full fat and higher protein varieties; the addition of probiotics and dairy free/soy free alternatives are targeting consumers who may have different dietary requirements,taste preferences and traditions.

The healthfulness of yoghurt

Yoghurt is a healthy, economic and beneficial way to supply the body with macronutrients particularly protein with high levels of essential amino acids of high biological value.

Nutrient content

Yoghurt generally also provides a higher concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc than whole milk.

Yoghurt also contains B group vitamins. Just 100mls of low fat, unsweetened yoghurt can contribute 400kJ (97kcal) and provides the following percentages of RDI (recommended daily intake) for adults: Calcium 16%; Phosphorus 13%, Zinc 6%, Vitamin B2 24% and Vitamin B12 13%.

Yoghurt has many uses

These nutrients make yoghurt the ideal food for adults living active busy lives; children who are growing; athletes needing after sport recovery snacks or the elderly or sick needing an easy to swallow nutrient boost. Ideas for use could include:

Breakfast: Try it with fruit and cereal or served with porridge

Lunches and snacks: Increase the protein of lunches with a pottle of yoghurt or blend yoghurt with low fat milk and fruit to make smoothies for an afternoon /after sport snack

Dinner: Serve as a dessert or as a meal for the elderly or convalescing along with stewed fruit and a protein filled sandwich, or soup and cheese toasty.
Yoghurt can also be used in cooking in the place of cream, in salad dressings, dips, soups and sauces

Yoghurt selection

If you are concerned about controlling your weight or cholesterol level then choose a yoghurt with the following profile/100mls:

Energy level <400kJ
Fat content <3g
Saturated fat content <1.5g
Calcium 200mg

Remember that in the end food is only nutritious if it gets eaten. So try to find one with a healthy profile but also one that you can enjoy. Making your own yoghurt can also prove very easy and cost-effective.

Brand Energy Protein Fat Saturated Carbohydrate Sugar Sodium Calcium Probiotic Vit D
  kJ/kcals g g g g g mg mg   ug
Yoplait Berry® 309/74 4.3 1.8 1.3 9.9 9.5 33 127
Yoplait Low fat Fruited Yoghurt® 275/66 4.8 2 1.5 7 7 35 143
Yoplait with real vanilla® 324/77 4.3 1.8 1.3 10.9 10.6 32 127
Fresh n Fruity Simply Apricot® 296/71 3.8 1.4 0.8 10.6 9.2 36 174 0.7
The Collective Straight up® 400/96 5.4 5.9 3.9 5.3 5.3 78 186
Cyclops Greek Yoghurt® 349/83 8.7 2 0.7 8.1 4.7 46 230
Doctors Choice Bio Yoghurt® 264/63 3.7 3.4 2 4.4 3 56 160
Cocowow Dairy free Coconut® 327/78 0.8 6 5.3 5.6 1.5 16.8 N/A
Symbio Probalance Passionfruit® 302/72 4.2 0.9 0.5 10.4 9 38 178 0.7
Dairy Free Yoghurt Passionfruit® 348/83 2.6 1.7 0.8 14 10.3 8.6 N/A
EasiYo Freshly Made Slimmers® 211/51 5.1 0.2 0.1 7 7 47 148
EasiYo Freshly Made Unsweetened® 290/69 3.8 3.7 2.5 5.2 5.2 34 124
Hansells Lite Greek Unsweetened® 278/67 5.7 1.3 0.9 8.2 6.5 55 160
Anchor Protein+unsweetened® 252/60 8.2 1.9 1.2 2.5 2.5 94 198
Yoplait Greek 2xProtein Coconut® 391/93 8.4 2.3 1.7 9.6 9.2 43 260

Ref Foodworks Xyris 9 2018

Health promotion

Research has found that aside from aiding normal energy needs as mentioned above the nutrients found in yoghurt can assist individuals with health problems1 such as:

  • Vitamin D and calcium deficiency
  • Weight management and malnutrition
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Lowered immunity
  • Musculoskeletal health issues
  • Strengthening of bone and remineralization of tooth enamel

Yoghurt and Probiotics

Recent research has focused on the use of probiotics to improve mental health and the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Mental health

In 2014, 70 petrochemical workers took part in a randomised, double-blind and placebo controlled study over a period of six months that looked at the effects probiotics might have on general and mental health.

The trial compared probiotic capsules, probiotic yoghurt and a conventional yoghurt placebo group and found that the use of probiotic yoghurt and capsules improved the workers general health questionnaire scores and also a significant improvement in stress scale scores measuring feelings of depression and anxiety.

While these findings are encouraging more research is needed with other populations before these results can be generalised and also the time frame needs to be extended to determine if positive effects persist long-term. 2

Irritable bowel

Many people are interested to see if their symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be improved using probiotics. Once again there is a lack of long-term positive research into this with most studies only lasting up to six months.

The main word of caution relates to the fact that there are a wider range of probiotic products now on the market that all contain different strains of bacteria and varying doses. People trialling these products do need to be aware that some products contain other ingredients that may increase IBS symptoms (e.g. dietary fibre, oats, FODMAP’s, Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), lactose, fructose, Sorbitol and Xylitol.

Probiotics are considered to be generally safe and if improvements in symptoms occur after a four-week trial period then individuals should continue their use. If you are wanting to try a range of products then select only one product at a time, follow the dose recommended by the manufacturer for 4 weeks before moving onto the trialling of another product. 3,4

Probiotic Eating guideline

 If you are unsure about the probiotic being recommended check out this Probiotic eating guide5

If you would like to discuss your own needs for probiotics, better gut health and the use of yoghurt to meet your current nutritional needs then do contact us

Articles by Lea on similar topics

Whats to drink?
Brain food part 2: Thinking food
8 Healthy tips when making real food choices
Are plant beverages suitable for kids?Juice diets
Milk matters
Milking it:is A2 milk worth the extra cost
Milk myth fact sheet

References

  1. El-Abbadi NH, Dao MC, Meydani SN. Yoghurt:role in healthy and active aging Am J Clin Nut 2014 May;99(5 Suppl):1263S-70S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073957. Epub 2014 Apr 2.
  2. Mohammadi AA, Jazayeri S, Khosravi-Darani K, Solati Z, Mohammadpour N, Asemi Z, et al. The effects of probiotics on mental health and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in petrochemical workers. Nutr Neurosci. 2016 Nov;19(9):387-95.
  3. McKenzie YA, Thompson J, Gulia P, Lomer MCE (IBS Dietetic Guideline Review Group on behalf of Gastroenterology Specialist Group of the British Dietetic Association). British Dietetic Association systematic review of systematic reviews and evidence-based practice guidelines for the use of probiotics in the management of irritable bowel syndrome in adults (2016 update). J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016 Oct;29(5):576-92. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12386. Epub 2016 Jun 6. Abstract available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27265510
  4. McKenzie YA, Bowyer RK, Leach H, Gulia P, Horobin J, O’Sullivan NA, et al. British Dietetic Association systematic review and evidence-based practice guidelines for the dietary management of irritable bowel syndrome in adults (2016 update). J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016 Jun 8. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12385. [Epub ahead of print]. Abstract available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27272325
  5. Eating Guidelines on How to Choose a Probiotic Dietitians of Canada updated 2018

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »

Comments

Leave a Reply

Also in Food & Fluids View all »

  • Alcohol and sport- Is it a good match for you?

    When used responsibly alcohol can help to relieve tensions in athletes and to build feelings of inclusiveness in a team. However in excess it can slowly unravel training, health and sporting careers. Read more »

  • Don’t like fish?

    Fish is high in protein, iron, B group vitamins and essential fatty acids. But not everyone likes it. What can parents do to help their child try it again? Read more »

  • Are nuts all they are cracked up to be?

    Are nuts healthy and how much do we need to eat in order to enjoy their health benefits? Read more »

  • Wise up to Discretionary Foods for better health

    If you are struggling to lose weight or lower your cholesterol then taking a closer look at your intake of discretionary foods can improve your results. Read more »

  • Could you make healthier decisions when shopping?

    Every food item we drop into our supermarket trolley isn’t just affecting us but also the health of those we provide food for. How well do you shop? Read more »

  • How to put ‘real’ flavour into...

    It can be so easy to snip the top off a packet of flavouring when cooking. But if we really want to reduce the salt, fat and sugar in our diet natural flavours are best. Find out how. Read more »

  • Get children cooking this Christmas

    Increasing the confidence of children to cook from scratch is now seen as part of the strategy to reduce chronic diet related disease and obesity. We offer 12 top foods to know how to cook before leaving home. Read more »

  • Garnishes galore and all those “little...

    Is garnishing getting out of hand? Find out how much energy those "add ons" really do add. Read more »

  • 8 tips to help you break the sugar habit

    What habits would you like to break? With all eyes on sugar reduction learn the steps to make this happen to achieve better health now. Read more »

  • Time your eating for better performance?

    If playing sport or exercising, understanding the GI can help you to select foods that will provide optimal energy at key stages of activity for better performance. Read more »

  • What’s the fuss about fructose?

    Sugar has been the focus of attention lately amidst concerns for our dental health and obesity. But what about fructose, the sugar that intrinsically exists in fruits and vegetables? Could this be injurious to our health too? Read more »

  • Get into fruit and vegetables for optimal health

    Do you get your 5+ A Day servings of fruit and vegetables? Learn how gardening and creative activities can improve your consumption of these foods and maximise their nutritional benefits for better health. Read more »

  • 15 Tips for healthier barbeques this Christmas

    Are you planning a Barbeque this Christmas? It's not hard to lower everyone's saturated fat, salt and sugar intake while still serving beautiful, tasty food. Read more »

  • Tips to help you ‘shake off’ the...

    In a bid to reduce the intake of processed foods many food manufacturers are modifying their products to meet new food guidelines particularly regarding salt. Find out if you are still getting too much? Read more »

  • What’s to drink?

    As concern, regarding the sugar and energy content of carbonated drinks and fruit juice, gathers momentum many people are looking for alternative drinks to have. Read more »

  • Is going “Gluten Free” a healthy...

    As the popularity of gluten- free diets grow we need to question whether in fact it is a healthy option for any of us and if not how can we make it so? Read more »

  • 8 Healthy tips when making ‘real food’...

    If we choose a lifestyle where others grow and process our food can we be sure that it is still safe to eat? Find out more. Read more »

  • Does your diet tick all the boxes?

    Is dieting still fun if it ages you? Find out if your diet ticks all the boxes for your better health and performance. Read more »

  • Organic food markets are gaining traction

    Organic foods are more expensive but as more farms convert to organic food production the costs do come down and the savings to the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil quality may, in the long-term, be money well spent Read more »

  • Fish and mercury contamination

    While fish can also contain some mercury it is still possible to enjoy the health benefits of eating fish and keep the exposure to mercury within safe limits. Read more »

  • Juice diets – are they as healthy as...

    For busy people, who might rather drink than chew their fruits and vegetables, the juicing trend sounds like a "gods send". What possible disadvantages could there be to health? Find out the pros and cons of this new diet craze. Read more »

  • Taste is important to fluid consumption

    Taste is an important factor affecting fluid choice and level of consumption and therefore is an important consideration to overall sporting performance Read more »

  • Feeling full is the secret to weight loss

    Gaining an understanding of the many factors contributing to a sense of fullness can provide some very powerful tools for those seeking to lose or control body weight and find more energy for life! Read more »

  • Milk matters

    How safe is cow’s milk in the raw and homogenised state? When can cow’s milk be given to infants and how can we protect children against developing allergies to cow’s milk? These are just some of the questions that have come up in the media lately and are in need of some clarification Read more »

  • Muesli and sports bars can aid performance

    Muesli and sports bars are designed to provide a convenient source of energy to be thrown into a lunchbox, gym bag or pocket and eaten “on the run”. However if eaten daily as a “lolly” or relied on as a meal replacement they can lead to unnecessary weight gain. If used wisely during training and competition they can provide athletes with a measured source of carbohydrate vital to performance. Read more »

  • Healthy meals for one

    Coming home to a nutritious cooked family meal was once the norm for many of us. Recent social change however is now seeing more people living in single dwellings many of whom are turning to meals “on the run” that are quick and easy to prepare Read more »

  • Can coconut improve our health?

    Coconut oil was once associated with tanning. Something young people coated themselves with before lying out in the sun “to bake”. Today coconut products are being heralded by many as the new “wonder food" that can cure many ailments. We take a look at some of these claims. Read more »

  • Food planning is important for hiking safety

    Research does show more injuries occur in the mid-late afternoon in open country than other times of day. This is often when people become dehydrated, their muscle levels of energy (glycogen) can become depleted and blood glucose levels may be falling, all factors which lead to fatigue Read more »

  • Sugar control is essential for better health

    After years of encouraging a low fat diet with some success (a decline in heart disease and some forms of cancer) attention is now focusing on sugar as a possible reason for our weight and diabetic problems. Read more »

  • Boosting fibre intake offers health benefits

    Research shows that a diet high in fibre can reduce the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, bowel and breast cancer, gallstones, diverticular disease and weight gain. It also seems that some fibres are better than others. Read more »

  • How to increase the ‘Good’ fats...

    If you are thinking of cutting fat out of your diet stop right now. Fat is important for nerve and cellular function but choosing the right “type” of fat is what matters most to our long term health. Read more »

  • Can a high fat diet improve sports performance?

    Fat carries more energy than other macro nutrients (9kcals/37kJ/g compared to 7kcal/29kJ/g for alcohol and 4kcal/17kJ/g for protein and carbohydrate respectively). So with so much energy to offer does eating more improve performance? Read more »

  • How much food do you waste every day?

    In New Zealand around 258,886 tons of food waste is dumped in landfill each year. This equates to around 64kg of food waste per person/year in NZ compared to 82kg /person/ year in the USA. Read more »

  • Healthy ideas for family takeaway meals

    Did you know that in 2012 around 21% of New Zealander’s weekly food expenditure was spent on eating out and takeaways? Read more »

  • Are you a “sneaky snacker”?

    Some people find it hard to control snacking and are continuously thinking about food. They may find themselves constantly picking, stock piling foods in drawers and cupboards at home and work. Read more »

  • Give healthier gifts this Christmas

    If you want to enjoy the company of friends and family when you get older then if is important that you look after their health, as well as your own, as you age. Read more »

  • “Free foods” for hungry children

    Free foods", while bulky, are very low in energy and filling. So their cost in terms of calories is much lower than most other dietary components, hence the term "free". As these foods are also naturally fat free they make ideal snacks for anyone trying to control body weight Read more »

  • Can caffeine fix performance?

    You only have to view the pile of bikes outside a coffee bar on a Saturday morning to realize that many cyclists are coffee addicts who need their caffeine fix each day. So does caffeine hydrate, dope up or enhance performance? Read more »

  • Party plans for children

    Birthday parties should be fun and the chance to celebrate a child’s special day with a minimum of work and cost for busy parents. If the party can be timed to fit around a normal meal time then “junk” foods can be kept to a minimum. Read more »

  • Care for “the carers” during family...

    When family members are sick or hospitalised it can be very challenging to find the time to exercise and maintain a healthy diet for yourself. Particularly if you are working, caring for children, or trying to complete a course of study. Read more »

  • What are our children drinking?

    In 2015 New Zealanders consumed a total of 518 million liters of carbonated drinks. Outside of the drinking of milk and water there is real concern about the energy content of some of these beverages because of our rising incidence of diabetes and obesity. Read more »

  • Drink milk for better health

    Fonterra’s announcement that it will sponsor free milk in schools is good news for the future health of young New Zealanders. Milk is promoted on the basis of bone health but there are many other health benefits that should be promoted. Read more »

  • Make healthy decisions this Christmas!

    We all like to think that we call the shots regarding what we eat and drink. But who really has the last say over what we swallow? Read more »

  • Marvellous mushrooms

    Did you know? New Zealanders consume 2.7kg of mushrooms per person each year. Mushrooms rank as the third most popular vegetable in this country in 2010. White button mushrooms are the most commonly eaten type of mushroom in New Zealand. Mushrooms do not need light to grow. They obtain all their goodness and nutrients from … Read more »

  • Brace yourself for the brassicas

    With Winter now upon us its time to eat more Brassica vegetables. What are they? Broccoli – 7th most popular vegetable in New Zealand Cauliflower – 13th most popular Cabbage (all types) – 12th most popular Brussel Sprouts Broccolini – consumption rocketing! Swedes Turnips Why are they so good? Brassicas contain: Antioxidants, from the following … Read more »

  • Navigating Christmas without weight gain

    Measurement is an important evaluation tool at any time of the year, it is only human nature to want some means of measuring progress; however can we rely solely upon any particular measure and expect to obtain a reliable result? For each aspect of life we require some measure to determine our successes or failures, … Read more »

  • Alcohol and type 2 diabetes

    The protective role of alcohol in protecting against heart disease has been reported throughout various media sources in previous years, however only recently has it also been shown in people with Type 2 Diabetes. Epidemiological evidence suggests that a light to moderate alcohol intake may have a protective role against the development of Diabetes in … Read more »

  • Sweeteners

    Public awareness of sugars within our diet has slowly increased in recent years. Whilst fat has borne the majority of blame for its implication in development of excess body weight, sugar has escaped relatively lightly. Read more »

  • Warning signs of excess alcohol

    During times of stress it is tempting to reach for alcohol in the hope that it will relax you and take away the pain or sense of loss you may be feeling. Read more »

  • Food safety

    If you do suffer bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea then here are some helpful tips.. Read more »

  • Easter treats

    If given a tray of Easter Eggs can you stop at one or two or do you eat the whole lot? Read more »

  • Slow food

    Slow Food was founded in Italy in 1989.The reaction of an Italian journalist to the opening of the first McDonald’s in Rome. Find out more. Read more »

  • Summer fruit warning

    High levels of fructose may lead to increased blood levels of triglycerides and lactate. This can be of concern to those who are overweight, diabetic or have elevated blood cholesterol levels. Read more »

  • Fish for good health

    Through out your life, eating fish regularly can greatly improve your health and fitness. Read more »

  • Fresh vs frozen

    Which is best- fresh or frozen foods? Read more »

  • Can it! – how nutritious are canned products?

    Open any kitchen cupboard around the country and you will most likely come across a can of food somewhere. In our Bach’s, boat’s, pantries, the City Mission, hospitals, student flats there they are waiting for you to open them. Read more »

  • Folate fuss & fortification of bread

    The subject of folate fortification in New Zealand caused a stir when first muted in 2011 however one thing is for sure, we all need folate. Read more »

  • Kick start your day the breakfast way

    Adding breakfast to your daily eating pattern is a major step towards a healthier lifestyle. Read more »

  • Eggs – good or bad?

    Without doubt eggs are one of the cheapest forms of good quality protein in our diet today. But how many should we have? Read more »

  • Keep drinking milk

    While we await more published scientific evidence to support the health claims that A2™ is superior to normal A1 milk there are real concerns amongst Dietitians that people may avoid drinking milk altogether. Read more »

Would you like to subscribe to our fantastic FREE monthly newsletter?

Each month we'll keep you up-to-date with the latest nutritional articles and healthy recipes from LeaStening.com. You are free to opt out at any time, but we think you'll enjoy what we've got in-store for you.

Plus as a bonus offer — subscribe today and receive FREE weight loss tips for two weeks! Learn how a number of foods, many one would consider 'healthy', may in fact be slowing your progress.

Subscribe

Yes please, it sounds great! (and it's FREE after all).


OR

Enter

No thanks, I'm not interested (or I'm already a subscriber and really enjoying these fantastic newsletters!).