Indeed, statistics show that the average consumer takes 8-10 ounces of yogurt, and then 4-6 ounces of toppings. When all is weighed at the cash register, there may be buyers’ remorse, but this being America, most folks will eat what they paid for.
but don't fool yourself that when it's served up like this,
it constitutes a healthy choice!
(Click Read More for the definition and health benefits of real yogurt, and different cultural varieties.)
First let’s define what real yogurt is, and what health benefits it can impart to us. Yogurt starts with milk from any type of animal — be it a cow, goat, sheep or even a camel, yak or water buffalo! — and, when bacteria (also known as the “yogurt culture”) is added, the milk ferments into what we recognize as yogurt. (Kefir, a cousin of yogurt, is similar but the bacterial culture is different.) Lactobacillus acidophilus (L.acidophilus) is the name of the friendly bacteria in yogurt. It’s hard to miss the words acidophilus and probiotics these days if you watch T.V. or read magazines — it’s a favorite buzz word of advertisers for anyone who has digestive difficulties. While studies show that yogurt displays a host of beneficial health effects on the intestinal tract and the immune system, care must be taken not to compromise the benefits of yogurt by loading it up with sweeteners and additives! Always start with unsweetened yogurt — 4 ounces is a serving size — and add your own fresh fruit, nuts and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup if sweetener is desired.
Interestingly, many other cultures of the world prefer their yogurt savory, as opposed to cloyingly sweet as Americans do. In India, yogurt is served as a condiment to the main meal in the form of raita. In Greece, it is a delicious dip or spread known as tzaziki. Both are tangy and delicious, and complimented by herbs and spices instead of sugar.
If you do go in for a treat, my suggestions include the following:
Use a light hand on the self-serve handle, and opt for unsweetened coconut and/or raw nuts as toppings. Why? The inherent fats (not to mention vitamins and minerals) are a good balance to the refined carbohydrates in the pre-sweetened yogurt and will slow down the quick absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Although fruit may seem like a healthy choice it, too, is a carbohydrate, albeit a complex one, and just another source of sugar. (True, the inherent fiber in the fruit will help slow down the absorption, but only very slightly; nuts are the far better choice.)
Those gummy things? Steer the kids away!