A Guide to Low Fat Yogurt

April 15, 2020 | BY Alston Dairy

A Guide to Low Fat Yogurt

The making of yogurt dates back hundreds of years, and is one of the oldest fermented foods in the world. The term 'yogurt' comes from the Turkish meaning 'to curdle' or 'thicken' milk, which is exactly what happens in yogurt production. Low fat (skimmed) milk, semi-skimmed milk or full fat milk can be used in the production of yogurt, as can goat, ewe and sheep's milk. Yogurt contains lots of beneficial nutrients for the body, including vitamins D, B and B12, zinc, potassium and calcium. This makes it more nutritious than milk, although some people worry that eating too much yogurt can be bad for cholesterol levels and saturated fat intake. For this reason, low fat yogurt takes up a large section of the yogurt market.

Types of yogurt

The yogurt market offers a wide variety of products, and some fall into one or more categories, making it difficult to know which type is right for you. Any yogurt that has 'live' on the label has been fermented with live cultures (bacteria) that are good for the gut. These cultures give the yogurt a tangy flavour and creamy texture. Greek yogurt goes through a straining process to make it thicker, rich and creamy. This type of yogurt is higher in fat than other kinds. Low fat yogurts are typically made with skimmed milk, while whole milk yogurt is made with full fat milk. Long-life yogurt is pasteurised following fermentation, which increases its shelf life. That said, this process does kill off friendly bacteria. Many yogurts are flavoured with various natural or additional flavourings, which vary from fresh fruit to sugars and artificial flavourings like sweeteners.

What's in the pot?

Low fat yogurt typically contains less than 3g of fat per 100g. This shouldn't be confused with fat-free yogurts, which contain less than 0.15g of fat per 100g. At Ann Forshaw's Alston Dairy, our low fat yogurts contain <0.2g fat, and have simple ingredients such as lemon juice, fruit and natural flavourings. We do not put artificial preservatives or additives in our low fat yogurts. If you are looking for a low fat yogurt that is more natural with less artificial ingredients, choose yogurts made from cow's milk, such as plain yogurt, which you can then add sweetness to using honey, syrup or fruit. Some low fat yogurts claim to be low in fat, but are instead high in sugar or contains lots of sweeteners such as sucralose, acesulfame potassium and aspartame.

Simple ways to use low fat yogurt in cooking

Low fat yogurt is a very versatile ingredient that can be used in your cooking, especially if you want to add a little rich creaminess without the extra fat and calories. You can swap mayonnaise, cream and sour cream for low fat yogurt in a wide range of main dishes, as well as desserts. It is important to use plain low fat yogurt for the recipe suggestions below – you don't want a curry to taste of strawberries!

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use yogurt to give your marinade a kick when marinating meat. Add a dash of lemon juice, some salt and pepper, dried herbs, chopped garlic and a tablespoon of medium curry powder to around 200g of low fat natural yogurt and use it to marinate a meat of your choice in a bowl in the fridge overnight.
  2. Low fat yogurt makes a great dip for chips and tortillas. Mix a 170g pot of low fat yogurt with half a chopped cucumber, a handful of mint leaves (chopped), a squeeze of lemon juice and a little garlic for a tzatziki to be proud of.
  3. Whizz some low fat yogurt in a smoothie maker with your favourite fruit, along with some crushed ice for a delicious healthy smoothie.
  4. Make a zesty dressing for salad by adding some olive oil, lemon juice, chopped herbs, salt and pepper to a pot of low fat yogurt and scattering it over your salad leaves.
  5. Use low fat yogurt instead of sour cream when you dress a baked potato.
  6. Use low fat yogurt instead of cream in curry sauces, pasta sauces and stews. Always make sure you add the yogurt at the end of your cooking time and reduce the temperature to a low heat (this prevents it from curdling!).

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