The Unhealthiest Food You Should Leave in 2020
With the end of 2020, you could be ready to change in the coming new year. And for a good reason! This was an unprecedented time for everyone and for many, which meant looking carefully at what foods you were eating. If you want to stay healthiest in 2021 and finally hit those weight loss goals, there is a grocery store that you will want to leave behind. (And while you make better decisions, be sure to try one of the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)
Fruit yogurt seems to be a great fit with your weight loss plan, but that sweet stuff isn't all that matters.
Yogurt itself has a lot going for it, but some milk yogurts are better than others. Natural yogurt offers health benefits that make it a nutritious choice for snacks or as part of balanced meals. But not every yogurt is created equal. If you rely on sugary fruit yogurt to get your fill, think twice about how it can affect your efforts to eat better in the New Year.
Why is yogurt good for you?
Yogurt, especially the Greek and Skyr varieties, are high in protein that will satisfy hunger. It also provides several other nutrients, including the bone-building trio, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B12. Some brands may also contain extra vitamin D.
Yogurt is made by mixing beneficial bacteria or live active cultures (LAC) with milk. LAC, also known as probiotics, promotes digestive health and supports the immune system. Yoghurt with the highest probiotic content is labeled with the Live & Active Cultures seal of the National Yogurt Association.
As part of a balanced diet, regular yogurt intake can protect against weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and bone health.
What exactly is wrong with fruit yogurt?
With all yogurt has to offer, sugary fruit yogurt has a health halo that is not always deserved.
As a nutrient-dense food, natural yogurt provides relatively more nutrition for the calories. Adding any form of sugar, including sucrose (table sugar), honey, or maple syrup, increases the calories of the yogurt and may contribute to weight control problems and increased blood triglyceride levels, a risk factor for heart disease.
Some yogurt options are surprisingly high in sugar. One serving of a popular whipped fruit yogurt has 18 grams of added sugar. That's more than an ounce of milk chocolate and makes up a whopping 36% of the recommended daily allowance for added sugar, equivalent to 50 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Added sugar displaces valuable nutrients, including protein. For example, regular fat-free Greek yogurt has 16 grams of protein, while the same amount of fruit on the bottom fat-free Greek yogurt has 11 grams of protein and nine grams of added sugar.
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What can a fruit yogurt lover do?
Make your own, healthier version! Throw in half a cup of regular, Greek, or Skyr yogurt with half a cup of fresh or frozen (and thawed) fruits like raspberries, sweet cherries, or wild blueberries and half a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
Research suggests that yogurt and fruit go together in the nutritional heaven. Fruit provides sweetness, but its naturally occurring sugars are usually not a problem unless you have to limit carbohydrate intake for health reasons. Fruit is a source of fiber that the probiotics in yogurt feed on in the gut. Packaged fruit yogurt provides little to no fiber because it lacks a significant amount of fruit.
Unless you're making your own fruit yogurt, opt for brands with less than five grams of added sugar or brands with alternative sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, and sucralose. You will consume less sugar, but you won't get the benefits of adding actual fruit.
To make sure you're buying the right type of yogurt, check the Nutritional Information section to see the added sugar, not just the total sugar. Milk yogurt is made from cow's milk and contains naturally occurring lactose, which is technically a sugar and needs to be listed as such. Once you can identify the added sugar, you can make better choices.
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