When coaching people with their nutrition, I often times find myself advocating certain foods. I can usually clear up a bunch of confusion and get them on board with new choices. However, I may or may not explain the reason behind why I choose certain foods. It really depends on whether or not they ask. So this is for the people in the back who haven’t asked yet.
One of the foods I often tell people to change is their YOGURT. Yogurt is an awesome health food! It has protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics for your gut. While some yogurt is better than none in my opinion; there are A LOT of choices. You may come across dairy free, fat-free, full-fat, fruit flavored, some with toppings, or whatever else you can think of. Often times the go to choice is the fat-free because fat is bad for you right? People have become convinced that fat is unhealthy in all forms and you must avoid it at all costs.
We need fats for many reasons. The purpose of this article isn’t to dive that deep, but basically you need fat to literally function hormonally.
Fat is high in calories, but that doesn’t make it bad for you. Calories aren’t bad, over consumption of calories is. So why are we buying the fat free yogurt?
Because people seem to hate fat, but also have created this habit of meeting “macros”. Basically they are given a certain amount of protein, carbs, and fats a day and need to fit the glove within a calorie restriction. The idea is to create a food that fits this mold and is “low cal” and it has molded the market for some foods. Fitting into a macro requirement isn’t necessarily bad and can actually be quite effective. However, it should not trump nutrient density or logic and reasoning.
Is the risk really worth the reward?
All of this to say, just eat the full-fat yogurt!
When they make fat-free yogurt all they do is take out the fats and leave you with some protein and lactose (sugar). This increases the insulin response of the yogurt because the fat isn’t there to slow things down and the processing of the food takes out many nutrients. In addition, low fat yogurt can actually lead to you being more hungry and is less satiating versus full-fat yogurt. This is due to the satiating properties that fat can provide. So when compared, low-fat yogurt is the less healthy option.
Humans have been eating yogurt for quite some time now. In its rawest form it is the healthiest. It is literally food as it should be (I think that’s some companies slogan…). There is no need to further process it and take out the good stuff to trick people into thinking it’s better for them.
So that’s the low-down on choosing full-fat yogurt versus fat-free! But I want to connect this idea to other foods and help people be mindful about things.
Avoid the processed foods people! If a food comes a certain way naturally don’t mess with it. Whatever of benefit is in that particular food, is there for a reason and can nourish your body. Look to get the most out of your foods instead of making it one-dimensional. Many foods serve multiple purposes and can help create a balanced diet that covers all of the gaps. If the small things didn’t matter, then I would literally eat protein shakes, white rice, and olive oil… You need more than just protein, carbohydrates, and fats. You need fiber, vitamins, and minerals as well.
There is almost always a trade off as well. Nature has a weird way of making things fit within this balance. When you mess with that balance there is almost always some type of repercussion. Most foods that have had the fat removed get sugar added for flavor. Foods that have the sugar removed get the sugar replaced with something artificial.
Just take things the way they are and eat for balance within your diet. Your body will thank you and fit within that natural balance of nature.