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Yogurt: Health Food or Fad?

Category: Food/Healthy Cooking
Created on Saturday, 23 November 2013 04:13

Sales of Greek yogurt are booming. Once a scant drop in the bucket, Greek yogurt now accounts for 35 percent of all yogurt sales. Traditional Greek yogurt is strained through a cloth or bag to remove whey, one of the main milk proteins, giving this style of yogurt a consistency between cheese and yogurt and maintaining its sour taste. 

Yogurt is widely regarded as a health food because it contains calcium and probiotics, which in the last few years have become a multi-billion dollar marketing buzz word. Greek yogurt sales have surged in conjunction with probiotics' popularity. Many brands, even mainstream brands prominently advertise their yogurts as being loaded with probiotics. 

But the truth is, yogurt is not the superfood it's fooled many of us into believing. Any flavor of yogurt other than plain has added sugars. Even little yogurt cups often contain 25 grams of sugar for just a few tablespoons. 

The other major reason yogurt is not a superior health food is that commercially, yogurt has been treated with the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Yogurt comes from pasteurized milk. Pasteurization, once a God-send in the age pre-dating refrigeration, preventing bacteria-borne illnesses, destroys all living organisms in milk. 

Pasteurization does not distinguish between good and bad bacteria. In isolated, traditional societies, such as small Swiss Alp villages, yogurt is indeed a superfood, mostly because the yogurt comes from unpasteurized milk. Non-pasteurized, aka 'raw' milk, helps colonize the gut with good bacteria. 

Traditional socieities consumed fermented and unpasteurized foods like raw yogurt, cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickled this, pickled that and other foods that contain natural probiotics. 

Commercially-made yogurt, though it contains live cultures, is not as effective for health as natural probiotics. Despite the added cultures, yogurt from the supermarket is not as natural as unpasteurized. And for people that have compromised digestive tracts, the amount of probiotics in yogurt is insufficient. 

Native cultures lacked supplements, vitamin shops, Whole Foods and discount online vitamin wholesalers. So for these societies, daily consumption of fermented foods ensured strong digestive constitutions. 

Eating fermented foods is recommended for digestive health. Because of chronic modern stressors, including too much consumption of junk food, another recommendation for a healthy digestive tract is daily supplementation with a high count (at least 10 billion microorganisms per day) probiotic supplement. 

Ditch commercial yogurt. You're being fooled into thinking it's good for you.

 

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