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So why is yogurt so popular? Well, it's packed with protein and calcium and if you choose a variety made with lower-fat milk, fairly low in calories. A 1-cup serving of a low-fat yogurt provides about 155 calories and 3.8g fat. Choose the fat-free variety and a 1-cup serving is pared down to about 100 calories with no fat. Yogurt is also a good source of riboflavin, phosphorus and vitamin B12. Remember that the more fruit and other extras such as granola the yogurt contains, the higher the calories will be. Easier to digest that milk, yogurt may be tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant.
Many types of yogurt, including frozen yogurt, may be low in fat but high in sugar and calories. Check the label carefully to see how many calories you're getting. Look for fat-free yogurts. But be careful - even they may have about 100 calories per serving. And keep the serving size reasonable - have frozen yogurt in a small sugar cone, rather than a waffle cone. Or skip the cone altogether and have the same amount in a dish. For more on which frozen treats are your best bets download a copy of the Summer 2001 issue of Today's Nutrition Newsletter.
All yogurt is pretty much made the same way - by curdling milk with purified cultures of two special bacteria -- Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. This causes the milk sugar (lactose) to turn into lactic acid. The milk is inoculated with the cultures, then warmed in an incubator for several hours; during this time the yogurt thickens and develops its distinctive tart flavor. Nonfat milk solids are often added to thicken the yogurt; this also adds protein.
In some types of yogurt, the bacteria survive the processing; in other cases, the milk is pasteurized again after the cultures are added, and the bacteria are destroyed. This is more often the case in Swiss-style brands. Many frozen yogurts are pasteurized after culturing also. Check the ingredient listing for "active yogurt cultures" or "living yogurt cultures" to be sure you are getting the benefits of the bacteria. Some evidence suggests that the live yogurt cultures may help to restore the "friendly" bacteria in our intestines after gastric illness. This is not true for frozen yogurt however.
Yogurt is produced in fat-free, low-fat and whole-milk versions. In order to thicken or stabilize yogurt and increase its shelf life, some brands of yogurt have added gelatin, starches, pectin or gums. These additives are not harmful. Some extra rich yogurts have egg yolks or cream added.
Fruit-flavored yogurt drinks vary widely in both sugar and fat content. However, they make a great alternative to a milkshake that is made with whole milk and ice cream.
If you're really keen you can make your own yogurt. However, for most of us purchasing it at the grocery store is the most convenient.
To make yogurt cheese: You don't need anything fancy to make good yogurt cheese - although kitchenware stores do sell a contraption specifically for the task. Line a colander or large strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Place the colander or strainer in a large bowl. Spoon yogurt into the lined colander. Cover and place in the refrigerator and let drip for 24 hours to form yogurt cheese. Two and a half cups of yogurt yields about one cup of yogurt cheese.
Use yogurt instead of:
Yogurt is another one of those foods that can blend in just about anywhere - smoothies and other refreshing drinks, baked goods, pasta salads, dressings, sauces, in marinades for poultry, on baked potatoes, and more.
Healthy Ways to Eat More Yogurt Everyday:
Did you know? Kefir, a slightly sour brew of fermented
milk, is reminiscent in both taste and texture of a liquid yogurt.
Originally it was made with camel's milk - today it's more commonly
produced from cow's milk. Young kefir is frothy and has a sour taste.
"Strong" kefir is a fizzy drink containing about two and a half percent
alcohol. Kefir is thought by many to be the secret to a long life.
Once considered a food that only a hippie could love, yogurt has practically taken over the dairy section today. From plain, with live cultures, granola topping, kid-size, in-a-tube, diet, light and with flavors ranging from simple fruit to coffee and cheesecake, your options just keep growing. And that's not even counting the frozen yogurt found in the freezer section.
According to a recent Statistics Canada report, in 2000 each of us consumed about 4.89 litres of the smooth stuff. That's about 21 cups per person not including frozen yogurt. Can you dig it?
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