Most yogurts contain nutrients lacking in the American diet, including calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. Consuming one serving of nonfat or lowfat yogurt every day provides, in many cases, 30% of the daily value for calcium, helping to close the calcium deficiency gap. Lowfat yogurt is not high in saturated fat, is lower in sodium than most cheeses, and provides approximately 6-14% of the daily value of potassium per 8-oz. serving. Lowfat and nonfat yogurt are good choices to help achieve your daily dairy requirements.
Additionally, choosing a vitamin D-fortified yogurt can make a significant contribution to vitamin D intake. Most yogurts also are an excellent source of high-quality protein, which helps with satiety and, together with calcium and vitamin D, helps promote muscle and bone strength.
In a recent large prospective study,1 consumption of yogurt was associated with a more balanced diet. According to this study, yogurt consumers are not only likely to have higher potassium intakes, but are less likely to have inadequate intakes of vitamins B2 and B12, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
YOGURT ASSOCIATION WITH A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
Another recent epidemiological study2 showed that yogurt consumption is also associated with a healthy lifestyle. Frequent yogurt consumption as part of a healthy dietary pattern was associated with less weight gain over time. This study compared consumption of different foods, including yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains among more than 120,000 U.S. women and men and showed that consumption of these foods was associated with less weight gain over time, with yogurt showing the best results. Other forms of dairy, including low fat or non fat milk, had no measurable association with less weight gain. Additionally, yogurt consumption was also associated with healthy levels of systolic blood pressure and circulating glucose within the normal range.1
YOGURT AND LACTOSE INTOLERANCE
For those who are lactose intolerant, milk avoidance is a major obstacle for obtaining adequate calcium, vitamin D, and other vitamins.3 Yogurt is, for many consumers, a more easily digestible alternative to milk because, on average, it contains less lactose than milk and may allow lactose intolerant individuals to enjoy dairy products with fewer associated symptoms.4
REFERENCES: 1. Wang H, Livingston KA, Fox CS, Meigs JB, Jacques PF. Yogurt consumption is associated with better diet quality and metabolic profile in American men and women. Nutr Res. 2013;33:18–26.
2. Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. N Engl J Med. 2011;364:2392–404.
3. Savaiano DA, Boushey CJ, McCabe GP. Lactose intolerance symptoms assessed by meta-analysis: a grain of truth that leads to exaggeration. J Nutr. 2006;136:1107–13.
4. Lomer MC, Parkes GC, Sanderson JD. Review article: lactose intolerance in clinical practice—myths and realities. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008;27:93—103.