My family always makes a fuss when it comes to our grocer’s yogurt isle. There are so many different brands of yogurt and we are all individually selective when it comes to our favorite morning food. To make matters more difficult, my family members have each opted to customize their yogurt selection based on fat content. When it comes to yogurt, my daughter is non-fat, my husband is low-fat, and I am full-fat. The question boils down to: Who has the healthiest breakfast diet? It would seem that lessdairy fat would be the best answer; however, that is not necessarily true.
Without doubt, dairy products with greater percentages of fat contain more calories which most people will want to avoid if they choose a calorie-restricted diet. However, studies found that when people purposefully reduce fat in their diets, they tend to replacethose calories with sugar and/or carbohydrates. The compensatory increase in both sugars and carbohydrate could lead to worsening effects on circulating insulin levels and lead to an increased risk for developing diabetes. A 2016 study published in the journal Circulation, Dr Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues studied dietary fat intake in 3,333 adults over 15 years. The researchers found that people who had higher levels of three different types of full-fat dairy had, on average, a 46% lowerrisk of developing diabetes compared to people who tended toward lower fat dairy products. But what about the weight gain with full fat diets?
My family is always concerned that full-fat diet may cause them to “pinch-an-inch”. Contradictory! A study published in the American Journal of Nutritionanalyzed the effects of full-fat versus low-fat dairy on obesity. Researchers discovered that among 18,438 women, those who consumed the most high-fatdairy products lowered their risk of being overweight or obese by 8%.
According to my taste buds, the full-fat flavor of yogurt is far better than the 0% fat yogurt chosen by my daughter (let’s not even get into my whole milk habit!). By cutting back on dairy fat, you may not only be cutting back on the deliciousness but focusing on one nutrient in the diet may be less beneficial overall. So now what do I tell my daughter when she reaches for the 0% yogurt? Back away, I am going for the 5% Fage*!
*pronounced “fa-yeh” yogurt
Circulation, Volume 133, Issue 17, April 2016
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 4, 1 April 2016