Low-fat yogurt – what is the trick?
Once again I have paid a visit to a supermarket in my town. Among other things I have been looking for yogurts. One plain one, low fat, which is a compromise between natural and fat-free, which I do not like. They did not have this plain low-fat one. Only fat-free was present in a half empty shelf. It was Sunday afternoon, I understand. Then I was looking for flavored yogurts in small pots so I can carry them to work as a convenient snack.
Those who know me are aware that I like variety in flavors. I don’t like eating the same stuff on and on. So this time I was looking for a different flavor than I usually get. Look what I have found.
I haven’t had a pineapple or pear flavored low calorie yogurt for a while. So I nearly put this appetizing and fresh looking pack into the trolley. Then I checked the ingredients.
Excuse me? What is 20 grams (that is 4 teaspoons) of sugar doing in one 125ml pot of yogurt? No wonder it has amber light on the front of the package with the traffic light nutritional information.
What this essentially does to you it makes you feel guilt-free by promoting low fat content, but because it will create a roller-coaster with your blood sugar and insulin response, you will end up hungrier later on. This is how this stuff with high glycaemic index works. Where fat and protein promote satiety so you are less likely to munch on and on, sugar without fat and with little protein will mess up with your blood sugar levels. I thought the producers have already picked up this message and implemented it into the products. No. They still count on people’s lack of knowledge or perhaps also their ignorance and pack the stuff with sugar so their taste buds send a bliss message to the brain. They will buy it next time because it tastes so good.
But this is not necessary. We can condition our taste buds so they again start sensing subtle flavors, disliking intense sweetness like this one. People who are constantly on sugary drinks and snacks will probably disagree, accustomed to their regular bliss from sugar, but it is true.
Disappointed that the shop also did not have organic semi-skimmed milk I made my way to Aldi store to get the milk and plain yogurt. There I bought this instead:
There is still some sugar there, about two thirds (three teaspoons) of what is in the first product for the same volume of individual pots. However, despite it has a little higher fat content, you will still consume less calories per pot! Imagine that. Feeling fuller for longer with less calories.
Lidl also sells this kind of yogurts, but I did not examine them as I hoped for something else in a different shop. Next time I will have a look and compare them but my message for today is:
BEWARE! Despite the first product bets on the marketing about minuscule fat content, it has more calories than the second one and because of its high sugar content it will make you hungrier later, making you consuming more calories than you initially wanted. Hence the message of low-fat, which has a rationale in reducing energy intake for weight management, is misleading. This simply ignores our physiology.
So what is the trick?
Fat not only brings us satiety. Fat also carries the flavor and gives the product a smoother texture. When fat is removed, the taste of the product suffers. So the producers trick your senses with sugar which does taste good as well, but is far more harmful than a little bit of fat which is naturally present in milk. The 0.1% of fat is not natural in milk and dairy made from it. This kind of dairy is essentially a waste product of a more complex dairy industry. They are basically selling to you a waste product with a significant profit. But that is a different story.
Knowing all that I still pick a lower energy product, but I do not go to extremes. And I do not let the producers fool me with manipulating claims. Don’t let them do this to you either.