What to look for when choosing yoghurt


How can you go wrong with yoghurt? A cultured food? A probiotic…

As we have evolved on our food journey at Pinkfarm, we have found that the most important thing is to know that food we are putting into our bodies. Gaining this knowledge has helped us gain this awareness, and with awareness comes change.

Many yoghurts in the supermarkets are full of refined sugar, skim milk, milk solids, many ‘numbers’, and questionably little nutrition. We do make our own yoghurt when we have a surplus of raw milk, but most often, we buy yoghurt from the shops. We decided to investigate which store bought yogurts have the most nutritious ingredients and this often means the least ingredients too!

When choosing a good store bought yoghurt look at your ingredients. Look for:

  • Full Cream (whole) milk
  • Cream (if you are lucky)
  • A starter culture

Be wary of:

  • Milk solids
  • Skim milk
  • Refined sugar
  • Flavours, thickeners and colours

The more ingredients a product has listed, the more likely it is to be problematic. Let’s look closer at the ingredients in two yogurts.

  • Yoghurt A: Full cream cow’s milk, cultures
  • Yoghurt B: Skim Milk, Sugar, Milk Solids, Water, Inulin, Gelatin, Maize Thickener (1442) FlavourFood Acid (331) Natural Colour (160b) Live Yoghurt Cultures

The first most prevalent ingredient in Yoghurt B is SKIM MILK. The second most prevalent ingredient is SUGAR. The third most prevalent ingredient is MILK SOLIDS.

What is wrong with skim milk?

  • Skim milk is heavily processed – pastuerised, homogenised, separated, and often has milk solids added back to it to improve flavour, colour and texture (see below for explanation about milk solids).
  • It has almost no nutritional value. After all this processing with heat and mechanical denaturing of proteins (pasteurisation & homogenisation) this product has had the life beaten out of it. Full cream milk is high in important fat soluble vitamins that can only be absorbed and assimilated by the body if eaten with FAT (the cream).
  • Skim milk does not keep you skinny – skim milk has historically been fed to pigs to ‘fatten’ them up before slaughter. Many people who had house cows, separated excess milk and kept the cream for human consumption whilst the skim milk was fed to fatten their pigs.
  • Skim milk is also often sweetened to make it more palatable as the fat has been removed.

What is wrong with milk solids?

  • Milk solids are essentially skim milk that has been dehydrated. During the processing of milk solids, cholesterol is oxidised and toxic nitrates are formed.
  • Proteins in milk solids are very denatured and un-recognisable to the body. They are actually inflammatory.
  • Authorities do not require the addition of milk solids to skim milk to be listed on the ingredients list of skim milk. According to ‘Dairy Australia’ milk solids are added to skim milk for ‘flavour’.

And what about all these numbers?

  • 1442 (Hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate) – Stabiliser and thickener. Concerns for safety if consumed by babies. May affect digestion of food. Prohibited in food for infants. People on gluten free diets should avoid.
  • 331 (sodium citrate; sodium dihydrogen citrate) – May be GM, derived from plant or bacteria, may contain MSG or free glutamic acid if made from corn, sodium salt of citric acid. Advised to avoid if you have MSG sensitivity.
  • 160b (Annatto extracts) – Used to give a yellow or pinkish colour. Is usually plant derived. May be GMO. Can cause allergic and hyper-sensitive reactions, behavioural problems, hyperactivity, skin ailments (eczema, dermatitis, itching, hives, rash), sleep disturbances.

So what yoghurt is best to buy from the shops?

Here are a few of our favourites, which contain nothing more than whole milk, sometimes cream and starter cultures. The way yoghurt should be.

  1. Mungali Greek Style Natural Yogurt – If you live up north this is easy to access and has nothing but whole milk and cultures. Be warned though, it is ONLY the Greek Style NATURAL yoghurt of Mungali that is free of milk solids and added sugars.
  2. Jalna Greek Style Natural Yogurt – The Greek Style is the only one of the Jalna pot set range that does NOT contain milk solids. The other varieties all contain milk solids.
  3. Harris Farm Just Jersey – They have a great natural yogurt with only whole milk, cream and cultures. There are Harris Farms in Mosman, Willoughby, Cammeray, St Ives, Pennant Hills, Dee Why, Mona Vale and Manly.
  4. B-d Farm Paris Creek – This is another great yogurt, however watch out for sugar used in the fruit varieties. The bush honey and vanilla and swiss style are the only two without added sugar.
  5. Country Valley LUSH Natural Yoghurt (green tub) – beautiful yoghurt made with two ingredients, milk and cultures.

Do you have other favourites which only contain the good stuff ? Please let us know!



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