For decades, we have been told that full-fat dairy increases our risk of cardiovascular disease. So we chose the low-fat variety that’s lower in calories and fats, hoping that sacrificing the rich taste of whole-milk dairy would pay off in the long run. The taste difference is especially noticeable in foods we eat alone, particularly yogurt, which is why consumers and researchers alike started doubting the recommendation to ditch full-fat yogurt. As a result, a whole discussion appeared online, and whole milk yogurt was vindicated. Read on to learn more on the topic.
Is whole-fat yogurt really less healthy?
In order to understand the difference between low-fat and full-fat yogurt, we must be mindful of the difference between saturated fat and other fat varieties. According to Harvard Health, “unlike the so-called healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, oily fish, and nuts — dairy products primarily contain saturated fat, which can contribute to heart disease risk.”
It is for these concerns that experts recommend eating no more than 20 grams of saturated fat for the standard 2,000-calorie diet.
To give you some perspective, a 7-oz container of full-fat Greek yogurt contains only about 6.5 g of saturated fat. As you can see, it’s possible to eat full-fat yogurt and be within the healthy range of saturated fat consumption throughout the day. And saturated fat is really the only difference between nonfat, low-fat, and full-fat yogurt. So as long as you’re not eating too much dairy and meat every day, enjoying full-fat yogurt is fine.
Of course, all yogurt varieties also contain many nutrients, such as calcium, protein, vitamin K, and magnesium, and probiotics - all of which make this food extremely beneficial for the body overall.
How eating full-fat yogurt may be MORE beneficial
Where did the myth that full-fat yogurt and dairy can kill you come from? Blame the 1980s, when fat in general was seen as the cause of all ailments and weight gain. But modern research shows that having around 3 servings of dairy a day is actually beneficial for you.
In 2018, a major study came out in the Lancet medical journal. This large study showed that people who eat dairy on a regular basis have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke compared to those who eat low-fat dairy. Moreover, those who eat full-fat dairy have a lower risk of premature death and are less likely to gain weight according to the study.
In addition to the health benefits, it’s also helpful to know that full-fat yogurt is more filling, and it usually contains less sugar than lower fat yogurts. Manufacturers add sugar to low-fat products to compensate for their poorer texture and taste. If you don’t believe us, check the amount of sugar in the full-fat and low-fat yogurt of the same brand the next time you’re at the grocery store. More often than not, lower-fat varieties have double or triple the amount of sugar.
Finally, if you decided to have a flavored yogurt, it’s better to pick full-fat because the extra fats slow down digestion and reduce blood sugar spikes. Of course, the best choice is to eat plain white yogurt or Greek yogurt and add your own flavorings, such as fresh fruit or granola. The reason why is simple: flavored yogurts usually contain between 10-13 g of sugar per 100 grams of yogurt, which means that an average serving of flavored yogurt contains more than half of the allowed daily 9 teaspoons (36 g) of added sugar.
So, the next time you’re buying yogurt, feel free to go for the classic, full-fat variety. After all, it tastes better, and that matters too!
Share this information with others!