Yogurt nutrition - the value of this healthy food has been known and prized for centuries. Every culture has had their own variety of fermented milk.
From Bulgaria (Bulgarian yogurt) to Lebanon (Labneh), from India (Dahi) to Siberia (Koumiss), the goodness of yogurt has been know, treasured and passed down through the generations.
The fermentation of milk is started by the addition of several strain of bacteria. When cultured at the right temperature that milk will become yogurt.The two "classic" starter bacteria in yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Almost every yogurt will contain these two although remember if the yogurt has been heat treated after manufacturer they will have been killed. Make sure it has the "Live and Active" seal on it. Different countries have different regulation - for the best nutritonal information on yogurt in your country - READ THE LABEL. If the manufacturer is not bragging about the probiotics in it - then there probably aren't many.
Avoid like the plague any yogurt that is labelled "heat treated after culturing"! This is done solely for commercial reasons. It adds nothing of any value for you, the consumer. It simply extends the shelf-life - like you want to eat yogurt that has been sitting in the supermarket chiller for a couple of months!
All the research states very clearly that the cultures within yogurt are at their most active and potent immediately after making. They slowly decline as the product ages. How much yogurt "goodness" you get is linked to the age of the product.
If you want the full benefit of yogurt nutrition, consider learning how to make yogurt.
Commonly added are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri and Bifidobacterium lactis. Most yogurt will not contain all of these. READ THE LABEL!
Many yogurts contain four probiotic cultures - Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis.
A small number of producers AVOID using Streptococcus thermophilus or any of the Bifidobacterium species which makes their products more suitable for immune-suppressed people.
Dannon's Activia yogurt contains the probiotic Bifidobacterium animalis DN 173 010 which for commercial reasons they have renamed Bifidus Regularis. There have been a number of trials on this strain of Bifidobacterium and it has proven to shorten the colonic transit time especially in women.1 And yes, an earlier trial really did show that for some reason this was more pronounced in women than in men!
A few people seem to have real bloating and gas problems when taking Activia yogurt (read reviews) and the suspicion is that they have lactose intolerance or it is acting as an ibs "trigger" food. So just be aware that although most people have found it helpful, a few don't.
Lactobacillus GG is in the Danimals line of lowfat yogurt cups and drinks made for kids. This probiotic, LGG, has been clinically proven to have positive effects on gastrointestinal function, the function of the immune system and the maintenance of oral health.
Yogurt nutrition has never been easier as more and more manufacturers bring out probiotic yogurts.
All yogurt nutritional facts in the table below are averages as products vary according to variety and flavours added, and unless I state otherwise, we're talking cow's milk.
|Type per 100g||Protein (g)||Fat (g)||Carbohydrate (g)||Energy (kj)||Calcium (mg)|
|Sheep's milk yogurt||5.9||5.7||-||344||-|
|Goat's milk yogurt||3.7||2.7||12.3||295||134|
|Buffalo's milk yogurt||3.5||7.0||-||368||-|
(A dash means figures not available)
1. Marteau P et al. Bifidobacterium animalis strain DN-173 010 shortens the colonic transit time in healthy women: a double-blind, randomized, controlled study. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, volum 16, issue 3, page 587-593, March 2002.