The Greengrocer’s Diet tribe members about sugar in low fat yoghurt and milk. The same subject was raised again this week by another tribe m">

Yes but what about the sugar ( in low fat dairy)

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with one of The Greengrocer's Diet tribe members about sugar in low fat yoghurt and milk. The same subject was raised again this week by another tribe member who was wondering whether the additional sugar in low fat yoghurt compared to full fat was a bad thing.

Before going on it's important that everyone realises that the additional sugar in low fat milk and yoghurt is not added sugar. The sugar in milk is from the natural sugar lactose which forms most of the carbohydrate component in milk.

Like all foods, milk (and consequently yoghurt) is made up of all three macronutrients: fat (52%), carbohydrate (27%) and protein (21%).

When you take some or all of the fat out, the milk has more carbohydrate and protein which is why when you compare a litre of full fat milk to a litre of skimmed milk there is more sugar because altogether there is more carbohydrate and protein than in the full fat product.

Now as sinister as that may sound, it certainly can't be compared to the low-fat products on the market which contain loads of added sugar (and kJ's). Here's why.

How many of you remember when un-homogenised milk was delivered to the door in pint bottles and the cream floated on the top? Back in Britain, if the birds hadn't pecked through the foil top and got to the cream first, unless the bottle was shaken, the first pourer got the most cream. The remaining milk in the bottle had less fat. These days milk is homogenised which is a mechanical process that breaks the fat globules into smaller droplets so that they stay suspended in the milk rather than separating out and floating to the top of the jug. There are arguments for and against this process which I won't go into.

Let's go back to low fat natural yoghurt vs full fat natural yoghurt and compare a brand that I typically buy which is Jalna Greek Yoghurt.

I like Jalna because the yoghurt is set in the pot and contains the probiotic strains Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus Casei. Testing on these products have shown that sufficient numbers of these bacteria survive to reach the large intestine, where they multiply and colonise.

Product 100 g Energy kJ Protein gFat gSat fat g Carbohydrate Sugar
Jalna Full Fat Greek Yoghurt 540 3.8107.16.14.8
Jalna Low Fat Greek Yoghurt 4235.731.98.36.7

The table above gives you the numbers of two products which I regularly buy. (I buy full fat only when the low fat is not available). To be honest there's not a great deal in it but it may help explain a point and demonstrate why I chose to use a low fat natural yoghurt in The Greengrocer's Diet.

  • The low fat yoghurt contains less kJ than the full fat - the ultimate aim of a weight loss diet is to reduce the intake of energy to below what is expended in day to day activity. The deficit achieved forces the body to burn body fat as a fuel alternative.

  • The low fat yoghurt contains more protein: Studies show that protein provides satiety and helps people to feel full for longer. More protein in a meal helps us to get to the next meal without snacking.

  • The low fat yoghurt contains more carbohydrate (and natural sugar). In The Greengrocer's Diet I encourage people to get carbohydrate (brain food) at breakfast and lunch and try to avoid it after 5.00pm.

    A note about lactose. Some people who are intolerant of lactose in milk find that they can tolerate in yoghurt. As a fermented food, yoghurt is an excellent probiotic and provided excellent amounts of the mineral calcium.


    Aug 18 2017 2:13PM
    I have been making my own yoghurt for over 40 years now.
    Originally it was fresh cow or goat milk.
    In the past 2 decades without access to having a house goat or cow I rely on local full cream homogenised milk. I make it in a Breville yogurt maker and use Jalna plain yoghurt as a starter. I then save a couple of spoonsful for the next batch. 900mls of yoghurt lasts me 5 days.
    I have never added sugar or flavouring to my yoghurt.
    Comment by: Jim
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