People are put off by it because it looks like dirty, murky water. It makes the yoghurt look as if it’s off or out of date, but that is not the case,” the 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle Plan author, explains.
Sure, you might be grossed out, but that opaque liquid is actually nutritional dynamite – especially if you’re the type to spend on fancy protein powders. “That strange liquid that appears on the top of your yoghurt is actually whey, which naturally separates out from the yoghurt. Whey is the part of milk products that contains protein and calcium so don’t throw that precious liquid away. Either just stir it back into the yoghurt before you use it or pour it into a smoothie for a boost of nutrition,” Chambers says.
New research by YouGov and Vaalia found more than one in three (36%) Australians don’t know whether you should keep the liquid on top of your yoghurt. The same research also uncovered some other concerning food illiteracy, finding more than one in three Australians (35%) incorrectly believe you should avoid eating yoghurt and dairy when congested, while one in three (31%) incorrectly believe you should avoid yoghurts when you have an upset stomach and two in five Australians (41%) incorrectly believe it is easy to find decent amounts of calcium to meet your requirements in non-dairy foods.
Chambers says the most worrying outcome of the Vaalia research is how many myths surround the consumption of dairy foods and yoghurt. “The flipside of that is how many people are unaware of the health benefit yoghurt can have, such as that it can boost immunity, as well as gut health and digestion, particularly in a time where gut issues are so common,” she says.
So what should you look for in a good quality yoghurt?
As a general rule, Chambers says if you have no problems with dairy foods, always choose a cow’s milk-based yoghurt that contains live and active cultures and high levels of those probiotics (>10,000,000CFU). If however, you’re lactose-intolerant, she recommends choosing a dairy-based lactose-free yoghurt. And if you must choose plant-based, make sure it’s calcium fortified and you’re getting your protein from elsewhere in your diet, she says.
“Non-dairy yoghurt is not healthier than dairy yoghurt, which contains high quality protein, is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin B12 in comparison to non-dairy yoghurts like soy, almond and coconut generally, which have very little protein, are often much higher in fat and don’t naturally contain calcium unless fortified but this is not common. Vaalia yoghurt is a great choice because it contains several specific strains of live and active probiotics at very high levels, which means that these healthy gut bacteria last the journey down the intestinal tract in large numbers, where they have been shown to help to boost digestion and immunity,” she says.
So next time you open the fridge for the seventeeth time that WFH day and land on a yoghurt, make sure you stir, don’t pour. Science says.