Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that is consumed worldwide as a snack or breakfast. It is packed with ingredients that can revive your metabolism and lead to weight loss. However, you should be careful when consuming this fermented milk product. Many manufacturers tend to cram too much sugar and artificial ingredients and advertise their products as healthy. So, which is the best yogurt for weight loss?
Navigating to your favorite store’s yogurt section can be confusing as you have to pick a healthy alternative out of the endless choices. Well, not anymore!
Whether you are looking for full-fat, low-fat, or just shippable yogurt, the next time you find yourself confused in the dairy section, refer to this guide on the best yogurt for weight loss.
How Can Yogurt Help You Lose Weight?
No single foodstuff is exclusively responsible for weight loss. You have to combine a variety for the best results.
Well, yogurt is a perfect addition to a balanced diet and can help you boost the rate at which you shed off pounds. Here is how the dairy product can help you achieve your weight goals:
Yogurt Contains Calcium
Dairy products are an excellent source of mineral calcium.
A cup of yogurt can give you about 23% of your daily requirements.
Calcium is a vital mineral that is associated with bone health. Studies have also shown that it has weight loss effects (4).
Several test-tube studies have determined that higher levels of calcium in the blood reduce fat cell growth. Animal studies have also linked calcium supplements to a significant reduction of fat mass and weight loss.
One study involving 4,733 subjects found out that calcium supplements were associated with less weight gain in people with a healthy body mass index (BMI) (5).
So, taking yogurt can prevent you from gaining weight, which means that you may achieve your goals faster.
What’s more, a few other studies have shown that dietary calcium aids in fat loss in post-menopause women and children with obesity. The compound has the same effect in men who have type-2 diabetes (14).
Yogurt Contains Proteins
A cup of regular yogurt contains 8 grams of protein. Greek yogurt contains as much as 22 grams of the macronutrient in a cup. These proteins will aid your weight loss journey in the following ways:
- Keeping you fuller for longer. Proteins intake has been shown to increase the feeling of fullness and satisfaction. A high protein diet will suppress your hunger hormones and increase the fullness hormone. This will always make you consume fewer calories, and eating less is essential for weight loss (1).
- Preserving your muscles. When you reduce your weight, you will likely lose your muscle mass. You can prevent this by taking yogurt. The proteins in the product will help you preserve your muscle mass while promoting fat loss, especially when you combine a diet with high-intensity training.
- Increasing your metabolism. Proteins boost your metabolism. A boosted metabolism helps you burn a lot of calories in a day (9).
- Regulating your hunger. The proteins found in yogurt will increase the levels of appetite-reducing hormones. They will also reduce ghrelin, a hunger hormone. This will make you consume less food than usual.
Yogurt Contains Probiotics
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics. These are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut (12).
Studies suggest that the compound, especially the one containing lactobacillus bacteria, can help you lose belly fat and weight. The lactobacillus bacteria are abundant in fermented milk and yogurt.
Is Yogurt Effective When It Comes To Weight Loss?
Nutrients aside, you might be wondering whether yogurt supports weight loss. So, what do studies show about taking the dairy product to shed off some weight?
Adding Yogurt Into Your Diet Plan
Research shows that subjects who took more than seven yogurt servings every week were less likely to develop obesity or become overweight. Those who ate less than two servings a week were less likely to become obese.
Replacing Other Foods With Yogurt
So, what if you replace other high-fat and low-protein foods or snacks with yogurt? Will you lose weight?
One study gave 20 subjects either ten calories as an afternoon snack or the same number of calories from chocolate and high-fat crackers (6).
Those that ate yogurt felt full for longer. Furthermore, they ate 100 fewer calories at supper.
Replacing unhealthy snacks with yogurt can help you curb hunger, control appetite, and reduce the amount of food you eat.
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How To Choose The Best Kind Of Yogurt For Weight Loss?
Most types of yogurts are often marketed as healthy. However, the sugars, flavoring, and artificial ingredients added to them can easily make them junk food. Listed below are the things you should consider and avoid when shopping for a healthy weight loss yogurt.
Read The Label
Reading the label should be the first thing you do when deciding on which brand to buy.
When you do so, you will know what precisely the yogurt contains. Each brand has a different story to tell.
Here is what you should consider in the label:
Ascertain what the yogurt contains. Most brands portray themselves as plain yogurt, but they have other added ingredients such as artificial flavors, dyes, preservatives, and sugars.
Do not go with a brand containing a large amount of added ingredients. Instead, find that yogurt with a few ingredients.
A healthy alternative should contain the following ingredients only:
- Bacterial culture used to turn milk into yogurt
If the brand contains other things, then check their weight. Make sure that the added ingredients have less weight (11).
Manufacturers often list the added components in descending order according to their quantity. Avoid the brands with sugar listed on the top.
Sugar can also be listed under different names such as fruit juice, agave nectar, cane sugar, fructose corn syrup, and sucrose.
The nutrition facts listed on the label can help you decide whether that specific brand is the right choice for you.
This section contains the serving size and the number of calories contained per serving. It will also tell you how many carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and sugars are incorporated in every serving.
You should also note the serving size, as there might be more than one in a container.
Go for the brand with a higher serving size containing more proteins, fewer sugars, and fewer carbs.
Avoid Added Sugars
The primary substance that turns yogurt into an unhealthy food is added sugar.
Scientists believe that sugar-sweetened drinks are responsible for weight gain. Processed foods with added sugars such as sweetened yogurt and so forth are much worse.
Overeating sugar has been linked to the development of heart disease, obesity, liver diseases, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic dysfunction, among other conditions (7).
Plain yogurt contains natural sugars in the form of milk lactose. Manufacturing companies often add large amounts of added sugars to make their brand tastier.
Natural yogurt contains less than 15 grams of sugar per serving. Flavored and sweetened substitutes can easily hold over 30 grams in one serving.
To choose the best yogurt for weight loss, go for the one with less sugar per serving. It should only contain less than 15 grams of sugar per 245 grams from the already present lactose.
Also, you have to make sure it is plain and unflavoured. If you do not like plain yogurts, sweeten them using fresh fruit juice or add chia seeds.
Full-Fat Vs. Low-Fat
Yogurt can be made from whole, fat-free, or low-fat milk.
For weight loss, most health experts would recommend you to consume low-fat dairy products.
But, how good is low-fat yogurt?
Well, most low-fat yogurts are tasteless and do not have any flavor. As such, most manufacturers tend to add sugar to compensate for the lost fat taste.
So, if you have to choose a low-fat alternative, be sure to check its sugar contents.
Full-fat yogurts, on the other hand, contain more calories. This, however, doesn’t make it unhealthy (13).
The fats found in full-fat yogurts are beneficial. Remember that these fats, namely conjugated linoleic acid, are naturally occurring and not processed. They are not harmful and even have a lot of health benefits.
They can help you reduce body fat, inflammation, heart disease risk, fight cancer cells, and improve blood sugar control.
So, choose a full-fat alternative instead of low-fat or no-fat yogurt for weight loss.
Yogurt is made using healthy probiotic bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for turning the lactose in milk into lactic acid, which makes yogurt sour.
These probiotic bacteria are the ones referred to as live cultures. They may have the following benefits if used in yogurt:
- Stimulating immune system
- Improving symptoms and signs of lactose intolerance
- Reducing depression symptoms
- Improving irritable bowel syndrome symptoms
- Reducing the risk of diarrhea caused by antibiotics in children and grown-ups
- Lowering body cholesterol and weight
- Reducing inflammatory markers
All yogurts contain these bacteria. However, their contents might vary from one brand to another depending on their packaging methods and storage (8).
To get the most out of yogurt, you should go for one with a lot of probiotics. However, it is not easy to tell how much each brand contains as they are not indicated in the labels.
The best way to tell if a yogurt contains these beneficial bacteria is to check whether it was pasteurized or heat-treated after probiotics were added.
A brand that did so would include the following statement in their label, “Heat-treated after culturing”. Heat kills the bacteria which should be alive to help you.
Organic Vs. Inorganic
Organic milk comes from cows fed with organic and non-GMO feeds. The cows are not treated with antibiotics or given growth hormones.
Inorganic milk, on the other hand, comes from cows fed with inorganic and GMO feeds. These cows are treated with antibiotics and given growth hormones frequently.
Scientists have found out that organic milk has higher beta-carotene and a better fatty acid structure. The milk has a lot more vitamin E and iron content than its counterpart (10).
For the best results, choose the yogurt made from organic milk to enjoy some extra nutritional and health benefits.
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Greek Vs. Regular Vs. Non-Dairy Yogurt
Greek yogurt is currently trending in the world of weight loss. This is because it is strained, more than any other yogurt, to remove lactose and whey. It is hence a filling snack for people who have lactose intolerance.
This gives this type twice as many proteins as other types contain. Hence, Greek yogurt is rich in calories and contains less calcium than the traditional type.
Non-dairy yogurts such as coconut and soy yogurt have also become popular. This is because they are plant-based and do not contain lactose or much fat like the traditional types.
The non-dairy alternatives are an excellent choice for vegetarians and people who have lactose intolerance. However, they do not contain much calcium. So, be sure to get the brand that contains some added calcium (2).
Greek, non-dairy, and regular yogurts are all healthy. None is more nutritious than the other. You can go for Greek or non-dairy types for weight loss because they contain less lactose and fats.
When Is The Best Time To Eat Yogurt For Weight Loss?
You can take yogurt at any time. Here are some healthy ways you can add the dairy product to your routine:
- For a balanced and filling breakfast, top-up yogurt with berries, seeds, and nuts.
- You can add it to your smoothies.
- You can also stir it into oats.
- It is ok to replace sour creams with yogurt in burrito and tacos bowls.
- You can season and mix it with a few herbs to make dips, spreads, and salad dressings.
- You can top it on hot oatmeal, whole-grain waffles, or protein pancakes.
- While baking muffins, bread, and other stuff, you can use yogurt in place of butter.
The Bottom Line
The best yogurt for weight loss contains a lot of calcium, probiotics, and proteins. You should replace high-calorie and low protein foods with yogurt for the best results rather than consuming it alongside your diet.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dairy alternatives: How to replace milk, cheese, butter, and more (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Dairy augmentation of total and central fat loss in obese subjects (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of calcium supplementation on body weight: a meta-analysis (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance: the Mihama diabetes prevention study (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Everything you need to know about yogurt (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Higher PUFA and n-3 PUFA, conjugated linoleic acid, α-tocopherol, and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: a systematic literature review and meta- and redundancy analyses (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How to choose a healthy yogurt (2013, health.harvard.edu)
- How to get more probiotics (2020, health.harvard.edu)
- Is low-fat or full-fat the better choice for dairy products? (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- Role of Calcium and Low-Fat Dairy Foods in Weight-Loss Outcomes Revisited: Results from the Randomized Trial of Effects on Bone and Body Composition in Overweight/Obese Postmenopausal Women (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Benefits of Yogurt (2008, webmd.com)