Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Yogurts; the good and the bad

I feel as if I'm about to have a Victor Meldrew-style rant here about yoghurts and the supermarkets who sell them.

On one hand, you can buy a really nice natural yoghurt from Sainsbury's in the form of their So Organic low fat variety.  It comes in smaller pots or in the 500g version that we tend to buy (at the time of writing the 500g pot costs £1.30).  It has a pleasant taste and contains the live bacteria of:

  • Bifidobcaterium
  • Lactobacillius acidophilius and
  • Streptoccus thermophilus

Or alternatively, you could buy a slightly cheaper yoghurt with all kind of dubious ingredients in.   Frequently these contain water, plenty of it.  It contains a thickener to presumably make up for the water that has been added.  As for the rest of the ingredients, well.... ahemmm.

Yogurts are a natural product and one which is good and wholesome.  While compatible with a vegetarian diet, it's not vegan and so I know it won't be suitable for all my readers.  Broadly yogurts are made through a fermentation process where bacteria or yeast are added to to the mix and provide the fuel for the process.  These bacteria are healthy.  Healthy in the sense of maintaining a good healthy gut with the right bacteria for breaking down food as part of the digestion process.   The benefits continue with enhancing the immune system and it has been said there are other benefits of preventing various illnesses or diseases such as the effects from poor digestion, constipation and it is suggested multiple sclerosis.

Arguably the worst part are the additives to the yogurts which can include aspartame, some food colouring which can be carcinogenic and various syrup sweeteners.

Natural yogurt; perfect with fruit and home made muesli (aka gravel)
We had a debate at home, with Rachel pointing out that although the cheaper yoghurts did have the combination of water and thickeners in, these did allow the manufacturers to achieve a more consistent product.  This means excessive 'lumpiness' or 'runniness' was taken out.

With food, the old adage "you get what you pay for" is often very true.  We have choices to either buy cheap food to fill ourselves up with and these are often laden with unnecessary additives to make them taste better, last longer on the supermarket shelf or simply to allow the manufacturers to cut their own costs.

And you? Which do you prefer?

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