Nonfat Yogurt: Natural Weight-Loss Food

The best way to get rid of fat cells is to pump your body full of unrefined, complex carbohydrates, add a little lean protein and healthy oils, and mix with physical activity. It's the perfect recipe for weight-loss. Along with other healthy-eating foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and good quality proteins, add a few servings of nonfat yogurt to your everyday diet to keep your bones rich in calcium.

There was a time when yogurt eaters were considered "health nuts." Attitudes have changed. Today, yogurt is consumed by all sorts of people. Walk into any supermarket and you'll see a dizzying array of brands and flavors, and not all are so nutritious. Your best bet is to stick with nonfat plain yogurt.


Health Benefits

Yogurt certainly has a lot to offer. As a protein source, it is complete, so it can be used as the basis for meals, substituting for high-fat meats. It provides bone-building calcium in a dose as great as that from a glass of milk but can be digested more easily when live, active bacterial cultures are present. It also features riboflavin, vitamin B12, and many minerals.

It's believed that the bacterial cultures used to make yogurt (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and L. acidophilus, L. bifidus, and Streptococcus thermophilu) carry their own health benefits. Research suggests that eating yogurt regularly helps boost immune function, warding off colds and possibly cancer. It's also thought that the friendly bacteria in yogurt help improve colon health as well as prevent and cure diarrhea. Another study has demonstrated that women plagued with chronic vaginal yeast infections found protection by eating a daily dose of bacteria-toting yogurt.


Selection and Storage

To ensure your carton is a welcome addition to your weight-loss regimen, look for three traits when choosing a yogurt carton from the supermarket cold case. First, select one that's nonfat. Second, look for yogurt that contains live, active cultures. And third, it's best to choose plain, vanilla, lemon, or any yogurt without a jamlike fruit mixture added, which adds little nutrition but lots of calories. Also, check for a "sell-by" date on the carton. Refrigerated, yogurt will keep for up to ten days past that date.


Preparation and Serving Tips

Yogurt makes a great portable lunch, if kept cold. If you don't have access to a refrigerator, try freezing the carton; it will thaw in time for lunch. Yogurt also makes a delicious low-fat dessert. For either, try adding sliced berries, nuts, wheat germ, bananas, or low-fat granola. You can even top cereal with yogurt instead of milk. Yogurt substitutes beautifully in recipes that call for high-fat ingredients like cream or sour cream. And yogurt is especially well-suited as a base for dips and salad dressings.

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