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How to Choose Everyday Yoghurt

10 Feb 2016 6 Minute Read Article by Healthy Food Guide


Fat and saturated fat

Dairy fat contains a high proportion of saturated fat, which we’re advised to limit. Too much saturated fat in our diets is the main cause of high blood cholesterol — more so than trans fats or cholesterol from food. Scientists, however, are now questioning whether all saturated fats are the same.

There is increasing evidence that the total make-up of a food may be more important than simply the amount and type of fat when predicting its effect on cardiovascular health. For example, it’s possible, but still under investigation, that the effect of saturated fats from cheese and fermented milk products such as yoghurt on blood fats and heart disease may be counterbalanced by the protein, calcium, or some other components in those products.

Fortunately, there are plenty of low-fat yoghurts available so we don’t need to take any chances in the meantime. We think it’s best to follow the current advice to limit our intake of all saturated fats while the science is ongoing. This may be especially important as our intakes of saturated fat in New Zealand are still very high. Remember, too, the amount of fat in yoghurt will also affect the energy content.

We recommend choosing yoghurt with 1.3g or less saturated fat per 100g, or even better, choose yoghurt with 1.3g or less total fat per 100g (that’s 2g or less per 150g pottle).


Calcium

Most adults are recommended to get 1000mg calcium every day, but for women over 50 and men over 70 that increases to 1300mg each day. Calcium is essential to build and maintain our bones throughout life.

Be sure to choose yoghurt with higher amounts of calcium.

We recommend choosing yoghurt with 170mg or more per 100g (that’s 255mg or more in a 150g pottle).


Energy

While dairy sometimes gets a bad rap from people concerned about their weight, choosing a low-fat yoghurt will reduce the energy content. For anyone watching their weight we recommend choosing yoghurt with 400kJ or less per 100g (that’s 600kJ or less in a 150g pottle).


How to choose

Fat

Good: 1.3g or less saturated fat per 100g (2g or less per 150g pottle)

Better: 1.3g or less total fat per 100g (2g or less per 150g pottle)

Calcium

170mg or more per 100g (255mg or more per 150g pottle)

Energy

For those watching their weight, limit portion size and choose:

400kJ or less per 100g (600kJ or less per 150g pottle).

Probiotic

For yoghurt claiming to be probiotic we want easily accessed information that tells us about:

  • Published scientific evidence supporting the claimed benefits of the probiotic when used at the recommended serving size
  • Whether the yoghurt has been tested and delivers the required amount of probiotic up to the best before date.


REFERENCES:

Arstrup A et al. 2011. The role of reducing intakes of saturated fat in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: where does the evidence stand in 2010? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. First published ahead of print January 26, 2011 as doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.004622

de oliveira otto M. 2012 Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-ethnic Study of atherosclerosis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Published ahead of print doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.037770

Ministry of Health. 2003. Food and nutrition guidelines for healthy adults: a background paper. Wellington: Ministry of Health

Park Y. 2009. Dairy food, calcium, and risk of cancer in the NIH-AARP diet and health study. Archives of Internal Medicine 169:391-401

Soedamah-Muthu et al. 2011. Milk and dairy consumption and incidence of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 93:158-71

Shahar DR et al. 2010. Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D, and successful weight loss. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 92:1017-22

*Source: The Symbio™ Women’s Wellbeing Survey (2015, 1431 NZ Women)

The original version of this article was published in Healthy Food Guide magazine September 2012. © Reproduced with permission from Healthy Food Guide magazine. On sale now, or for more healthy tips and recipes go to www.healthyfood.co.nz

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