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Yogurt 101

Get the skinny on yogurt, a powerhouse of nutrition and food that is chock full of calcium.

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Mixed-Berry Cream Parfaits

How Yogurt is Made

In a process similar to cheese making, Lactobacillus bulgarius and Streptococcus thermophilus cultures are combined with milk, transforming the milk into thick, creamy yogurt.

Live, Active Cultures

Not all yogurts are created equal.  All yogurts initially contain live active cultures, but some yogurts are heated after they are made, destroying these cultures. There are several varieties of yogurt cultures, and it's these cultures that add to the many nutritional benefits of yogurt.  Look for the National Yogurt Association seal on yogurts, such as Yoplait, that contain significant levels of live, active cultures.

A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Yogurt is loaded with high-quality protein, calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin.  And yogurt that's made from nonfat or low-fat milk is fat-free or low in fat and low in cholesterol as well.  But that's not all!  Yogurt is naturally low in sodium and rich in potassium. It's an ideal choice for people who want to reduce their calorie intake but not sacrifice good nutrition.  The excellent nutrient profile and good taste of yogurt make it a food that's delicious eaten by itself and a healthful choice when used in recipes as a substitute for a higher-fat ingredient.

Chock-Full of Calcium

Most important, yogurt is packed with calcium, a nutrient vital for healthy teeth and bones.  In combination with regular exercise, a lifetime of healthful eating includes enough calcium, especially during childhood, teenage and early adult years, to help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak, brittle bones. About 15 to 20 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis.  It commonly affects older adults, especially women and men who have a family history of fragile bones later in life.

Many Americans fail to get the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium. About 80 percent of women and 93 percent of teenage girls consume less than the RDA for calcium, which is 500 to 1300 milligrams daily.  These are the people who need it the most, because later in life they are at greater risk for developing osteoporosis. Satisfying the need for calcium, however, is easy - just one 6-ounce serving of yogurt provides between 20 and 35 percent of the adult US RDA for calcium!

Lactose Intolerance

Approximately 30 million Americans have difficulty digesting lactose, the natural sugar in milk.  These people suffer unpleasant effects, such as stomach cramps, gas and bloating, when they consume fluid milk.  Because of this, many people with lactose intolerance omit milk from their diets and therefore often run the risk of not getting enough calcium.

Clinical studies have shown that yogurt with live, active cultures offers a solution for many people with lactose intolerance. This yogurt is better tolerated than fluid milk because the cultures continue to digest, or break down, lactose, even after the yogurt is eaten.  By eating this yogurt, lactose intolerant individuals can enjoy a tasty dairy product with calcium and other nutritional benefits as well.

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