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How healthy is your yoghurt?

Bowl of full fat Greek yoghurt topped with Purition Strawberry and fresh strawberries.

Most yoghurts on the supermarket shelves are marketed as ‘healthy options’ because they’re “low-fat”, “0% fat” or “zero fat”. However, believe it or not, a large percentage of these so called ‘healthy’ and ‘good for you’ yoghurts have been found to contain more sugar than cola! So beware of low-fat claims, they often mean high in sugar or artificial sweeteners.

According to the headlines recently, a study has revealed that only 9% of yoghurts stocked in British supermarkets can be classed as low sugar.

Researchers assessed the nutrient content of around 900 yoghurts/yoghurt products in 2016, and found that a typical yoghurt contained more than half an adult’s daily recommended sugar allowance (30g for people aged over 11 years). Among the worst perpetrators were yoghurts labelled “organic” and those marketed at children with total average sugars of 13.1g and 10.8g per 100g. yoghurt naturally contains a small amount of sugars called lactose, which is found in milk.

But, as Registered Nutritionist Kate Bevan-Wood points out, some yoghurts posing as health foods often contain artificial flavourings and hidden added sugars too:

“Not all yoghurts are as healthy as they seem. As a nation we have been led to believe that yoghurts are a great source of calcium, which they may be, but what about the extras they contain?”

For years, low fat yoghurts (and other packaged diet foods) have been included in the meal plans of people wanting to lose weight or be more healthy. The unfortunate irony is that these so called ‘good for you’ products often contain the ingredient that can counter weight-loss and healthy eating most – sugar.

Why? Because when natural fats are stripped from any foods, sugars and flavourings are added to replace the natural flavour and ‘make up’ of the food that has been removed. It’s therefore important to always check the ingredients list and nutritional information so you know what’s going into your body.

But to any yoghurt lovers reading this, don’t worry, all is not lost when it comes to yoghurt. The study also revealed that those labelled 'Natural' or 'Greek' generally qualified as low sugar and Kate agrees, there are some really healthy, helpful yoghurts on the market:

“Natural Live yoghurt has been cultured, this means that it contains probiotics which are great for topping up our good gut bacteria, this can help to address digestive concerns, it also helps to strengthen and support our immune systems to fight off illnesses.”

So skip the artificially flavoured and heavily sweetened yoghurts – just because they are labelled 'organic' or 'low fat' doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthier or will help you to manage your weight any easier. Try a pot of full-fat Greek yoghurt, or one of the plain natural varieties instead and add your own berries for true natural flavour. Healthy is food that is made by nature, healthy is food in its most natural state.

A serving of Purition stirred in to natural or Greek yoghurt makes for a nutrient packed breakfast or afternoon snack!

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