Ever been stuck freezing in the dairy aisle deciding between natural or greek style yoghurt? No added sugar or fruit flavoured? Full fat or low fat? Yoghurt is eaten in many households but how does yours stack up – is it really as healthy as you thought or is it packed with added sugar, saturated fat or both?
Greek yoghurt vs. Natural Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is higher in fat compared to natural yogurt. It is made by straining the milk mixture through a cloth/paper filter, giving it its creamy consistency. Traditional natural yoghurt on the other hand is lower in fat and is more liquidy because it isn’t strained.
FAST FACT: In Greece strained yoghurt is traditionally made from sheep’s milk, but in Australia cow’s milk is used instead, that’s why you’ll see them labelled as ‘greek style; yoghurt.
Full fat or low fat?
Now this is a very topical debate and there isn’t a clear-cut answer because it comes down to individual preference and dietary/medical priorities. Full fat yoghurts are higher in saturated fats than their skim partners. We know saturated fat isn’t as detrimental to health as it was once perceived to be, HOWEVER it still doesn’t have any other health benefits like your unsaturated fats (eg olive, sunflower, canola oils, avocado, nuts/seeds, fatty fish). So why spend your energy there when you can spend it elsewhere on health promoting fats instead?
‘Full, regular or whole’ dairy products are higher in fat meaning they are more energy dense (because fat has more kj/gram compared to protein and carbohydrate). This quickly fills up your fat quota for the day making it difficult to achieve the calorie deficit required for weight loss.
Which one to choose?
BOTH are great choices if eaten in their unflavoured form. Checkout the table below, full fat greek yoghurt has significantly higher fat content than full fat natural. Once we get down to the reduced fat varieties there is still slightly less difference between them. (I haven’t included no fat varieties here because they would clearly have the same amount of fat).
Recommended natural & greek yoghurts:
Sweetened or unsweetened?
The ultimate choice is ALWAYS unsweetened, some fruit flavoured tubs like Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy and Gippsland Raspberry & Coconut, have around 28g sugar (6 teaspoons!). Sugar will never be less than 5g/100g because that is the naturally occurring lactose sugar that comes from cows. It is the added sugar that you want to avoid, so aim for <10g/100g , if choosing a fruit flavoured yoghurt. If like many people you need to retrain your taste buds swapping from flavoured to plain can be hard. Lucky for you the market is flooded with options so here is our advice:
Step 1. Trial a semi sweetened variety, eg. Black Swam Naturally Sweet Breakfast Yoghurt
Step 2. Trial some different brands of fruit flavoured natural or greek style without added sugars BELOW 10g/100g.
· Jalna Fruit
· Baramabah berry
· Tamar Valley no added sugar
Step 3. Trial unflavoured natural or greek style and add flavour yourself, like crushed nuts, sunflower/pepita seeds, cinnamon or fresh fruit.
Flavour = Plain natural or greek style.
Fat = Low in sat fat :<3g/100g
Sugars: = <10g/100g (if flavoured)
Calcium= 300mg/ serve
Now it comes down to personal preference, which one are you?
1. Weight loss/management: Swap to lower fat, save yourself the extra energy and spend it elsewhere in your day.
2. Can’t stand the taste of low fat: Stick with full fat and reduce your portion size. Eg. 200g à 125g.
3. Sugar craver? Try stepping down and adding your own flavours. This takes time so be patient and persistent.
4. One bad experience? – Try, try, try again. With so many varieties available now there is likely to be at least one you like.
Remember a 200g portion of yoghurt counts as 1 serve of dairy that can be eaten everyday! Use it for breakfast, as a snack, in a smoothie or in dressings. If you get confused reading labels or want to know what products are best suited to you then don’t hesitate to contact us at Body Fusion.
**Body Fusion and this author is not affiliated with or compensated by any companies, brands or products discussed in this review.