Yogurt is a “vital secret for hunger management,” writes Mireille Giuliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, noting that women in France will regularly eat a serving or more for breakfast, as a snack, or as a dessert as a way to stay slimmer, sexier, and healthier. In fact, the average French woman (and man), eats at least one serving of yogurt a day, or at least six times per week, while the average American eats zero-to-three servings per week.
Giuliano’s claims don’t appear to be contestable. Yogurt’s benefits are well supported by evidence, according scientists who presented their research at the Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative for a Balanced Diet (YINI) 2nd Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt, on April 30, in San Diego. The event took place during American Society for Nutrition’s Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2014 in partnership with Danone.
Yogurt is strongly associated with being healthier and leaner across several different countries around the world, said pediatric nutritionist Mauro Fisberg, Ph.D., a professor at Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil. He said those who averaged the most consumption were women and children, who were more highly educated and came from higher socioeconomic levels. Men don’t eat as much, but perhaps they should, he said.
Going over the long history of yogurt (and other fermented dairy products such as cuajada and kefir), Fisberg said that the ancient food was traditionally used as medicine and has proven to be a product that is rich in highly bioavailable protein, calcium and potassium, and probiotics. Traditionally, yogurt is also often consumed with other nutrient-dense foods such as nuts and fruits. In countries where consumption isn’t as frequent, Fisberg said, yogurt is a “window of lost opportunities.”
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