• Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been a proliferation of low-fat products in grocery stores. It’s the impact of a continuous war against fat… Companies seem to take some delight in indicating “0% m.g.” or “zero trans fat” on their packaging.

    This amplifies the concern about quantities of fat to be consumed when, in reality, new research shows that fats from dairy products such as yogurt don’t have a negative impact on cardiovascular health.

    No Fats in Your Plate!

    There are 4 types of lipids (fats) found in food:

    • Monounsaturated fatty acids
    • Polyunsaturated fatty acids
    • Saturated fats
    • Trans fats.

    Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are often recalled as the “good” fats. They are found in oils of plant origin, nuts, seeds, fishes, and certain fruits like avocados. Science loves them! Foods that contain those acids are found in various diets associated with general health, such as the Mediterranean diet.

    On the other hand, we often point fingers at trans fats and saturated fats since they are mostly found in processed products, red meats, charcuteries, and in some dairy products.

    The Good Fats of Dairy Products

    Dairy products are sort of in a grey area. If you look into the different types of dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and kefir, you will find that even if they contain saturated fats, these products don’t carry high cardiovascular risks.

    Why? Researchers have a few hypotheses, one of them being the special matrix of those foods. In yogurt, for example, there are many interesting compounds: calcium, bacteria (probiotics!) and proteins that promote satiety. Bioactive peptides stem from casein (milk’s protein) and dairy fats such as trans-palmitoleic acids are also included.

    Researchers from Harvard University studied the trans-palmitoleic acid, a fatty material found in dairy products. They proved that it was associated with an up to 60% reduction of risks of developing type 2 diabetes. This is true for those who adopt a diet rich in trans-palmitoleic acid, in opposition to those who consume it slightly.

    What Yogurt Should I Choose?

    In the last 5 years, more and more products appear in the yogurt section, from Greek yogurts rich in protein to fat-free yogurts sweetened with sucralose. With so many options, it can be difficult to make a choice.

    A new Canadian study found that fat-free yogurts were mostly eaten by overweight people while yogurts high in fat (> 2% m.g.) were consumed by people with an average weight.

    Those who go for fat-free yogurts, probably to manage fat quantities in their diet, don’t usually consume less fats in the end! There seems to be a phenomenon of dispelling guilt by compensating with other foods rich in fats.

    According to researchers, no matter the percentage of fat in the yogurt, its consumption is associated with a reduction of triglyceride and insulin levels, which improves cardiovascular health. Eating yogurt—even those rich in fats—is therefore recommended.

    In Europe, even though there are many low-fat products, the common Greek yogurt is high in fats. It can contain up to 10 g of fats for a 7 oz portion! But it’s the secret behind the rich and creamy texture and the fast feeling of satiety.

    Yogurt Has a Substitute to Fats

    Did you know that yogurt is an excellent substitute to fats in recipes? It’s perfect for your muffins, cakes, or banana breads! For cakes, just preserve at least 3 tablespoons of fats for a cup of flour. As for muffins, substitute up to 2/3 of the total amount of fats by yogurt.

    GOOD TO KNOW: You can also add yogurt to your breakfasts for an extra protein intake!