Healthy in context
It can be difficult to label a food as healthy or unhealthy as it often depends on context. That’s why we often talk about healthier alternatives in specific situations.
We think gourmet yoghurts are a healthy alternative to cream or standard ice-cream, with or as a dessert. We wouldn’t, however, recommend eating gourmet yoghurt instead of regular low-fat yoghurt with a breakfast cereal, for example, nor as a 150g ‘snack’. Gourmet yoghurts are delicious creamy treats suitable in smaller amounts — not for every day.
Compared to regular low-fat yoghurt, gourmet yoghurts are relatively high in fat and saturated fat. For everyday yoghurt, we look for those with 1.3g saturated fat or less per 100g. But compared to cream or even ice cream, gourmet yoghurt is relatively low in fat and saturated fat. On the assumption that we would likely use less yoghurt for dessert than we would ice cream, we recommend choosing gourmet yoghurt with 4.5g or less saturated fat per 100g. Even better, there are varieties with 3g or less saturated fat per 100g. And our tasters verify these yoghurts still have that creamy mouth feel we all love.
Check the nutrition information when choosing gourmet yoghurts as products vary widely. We found one gourmet yoghurt which had a whopping 13g saturated fat per 100g. We think it’s worth avoiding products like this, especially when there are so many better options.
If you are watching your weight, we recommend choosing yoghurt with 500kJ or less per 100g as well as watching your portion size. Yoghurt naturally has a tart flavour and fruit, fruit syrup, honey or just plain sugar is often added to sweeten yoghurt. Any of these will add to the energy content.
Yoghurt is a good source of bone-building calcium. We recommend yoghurt with 140mg or more calcium per 100g, but if you need to boost your calcium look for yoghurts with more than that, such as the Clevedon Valley Buffalo Yoghurt at 200mg calcium per 100g, or Cyclops Low Fat Greek Yoghurt with 230mg per 100g. The Cyclops yoghurt, while super-thick and creamy, has a sharper flavour compared to the others so it won’t suit all palates.
It’s disappointing that some manufacturers don’t list the calcium content of their products.
Many of these products will tell you they are produced using one or more probiotic cultures. Unless they can also tell you what specific benefit has been shown for these cultures at what dosage, and relate that to the amount of the cultures that will be alive up to the best before date, this is meaningless. It won’t do you any harm, but it’s questionable whether it will do you any good either.
Did you know? Yoghurt ice cream describes a blend of yoghurt and ice cream, but yoghurt may not be the main ingredient.