Yogurt: Which one is best for you?
Published: September 16, 2022
Bacteria cultures are used to ferment lactose (a disaccharide containing glucose and galactose which is found in animal milk) to produce lactic acid.
Lactic acid reacts with protein in the milk. The result is a semi-solid with a creamy texture and tangy taste.
Bacteria cultures are composed of several different strains of bacteria such as:
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii (sub species bulgaricus)
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- sub species of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria strains
Yogurt can be made from the milk of yaks, camels, mares, ewes, goats and water buffalo as well as from soy, nut and coconut milks.
However, yogurt is most commonly made from cow's milk which has casein as its principle protein.
Natural yogurt only contains milk and bacterial cultures.
Traditionally yogurt has been combined with condiments to offset the sourt taste and provide variety.
Condiments include: honey, mustard seeds, cinnamon, herb puree, raisins, cucumber, shallots, spring onions, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Fresh fruit also offsets the slightly sour taste of natural yogurt.
Commercially, yogurt is sold in a variety of forms ranging from quite solid Greek style yogurts to beverage style yogurts.
Yogurt styles also include full fat to zero fat, and plain unsweetened to a variety of sweetened yogurts.
Yogurts prepared commercially are typically sweetened with fruit, fruit and sugar, fruit jams, and artificial sweeteners.
When fruit is added the fruit may be blended into the yogurt or set at the bottom of the cup with plain yogurt on top.
Other ingredients added to commercially prepared yogurt include starch, pectin, gelatin, and non-fat dried milk.
These additives are used as thickeners particularly in lower fat yogurt products.
Starch is often in the form of cornstarch, pectin is a water soluble fibre found in fruit, and gelatin is an animal protein.
Non-fat dried milk provides additional milk sugar and protein to the finished product.
Carrageenan, derived from seaweed, may be used as a stabilizing and thickening agent. Agar, guar and xanthan gums, and gum arabic are also used as thickening agents.
Fruit and vegetable juice may be used as colouring agents.
Calcium lactate may be added to increase the calcium conten.
Malic acid, a natural organic compound, may be added to add tartness to the yogurt product.
Some yogurt products are fortified with vitamin D3.
In recent years it has become popular for "probiotics" to be added to some yogurts in addition to the bacteria cultures used in the yogurt making process.
Benefits of probiotics
Several different strains of bacteria inhabit your gastrointestinal tract...link to the full article to learn more.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.