Are store-bought yogurt safe to consume?

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Store-bought yogurt is generally safe to consume, provided it is purchased from a reputable source says Dr Preeti Nagar, dietician at NIIMS.

Always check the expiration date before purchasing and consuming yogurt. Store yogurt in the refrigerator at the correct temperature. Avoid leaving it out at room temperature for extended periods. Ensure that the packaging is intact and not damaged. Bulging lids or broken seals can indicate spoilage or contamination.

Read the ingredient list to be aware of any additives or preservatives. Choose products that suit your dietary preferences and needs. Check for quality marks or certifications on the packaging, which indicate adherence to safety and quality standards. Before consuming, observe the yogurt for any unusual changes in texture, color, or smell, which can indicate spoilage. you can safely enjoy store-bought yogurt as part of your diet.

When checking the label of store-bought yogurt, it’s important to watch out for certain ingredients that might affect health, dietary restrictions, or preferences. Here are some ingredients to be mindful. Look for terms like cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, glucose, sucrose, and other sweeteners. High sugar content can be detrimental to health, especially if consumed in large quantities. Ingredients such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin may be added to low-calorie or “diet” yogurts. Some people prefer to avoid these due to potential health concerns or taste preferences. Ingredients labeled as artificial flavors or with specific color names (like Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5) indicate the presence of synthetic additives.

Compounds like potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and others are added to extend shelf life. While generally recognized as safe, some people may prefer to avoid them. Ingredients such as gelatin, pectin, agar, guar gum, and carrageenan are used to improve texture. Some individuals may be sensitive to these additives. Skim milk powder, whey protein concentrate, and similar ingredients are used to boost protein content or texture. Check these if you have specific dietary restrictions or preferences. For those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, watch out for dairy-based ingredients. Look for yogurts made from plant-based milk (like almond, coconut, or soy) if needed. By being aware of these ingredients, you can make more informed choices about the yogurt you consume based on your health needs and dietary preferences.

According to Dr Preeti Nagar, dietitian at Noida International Institute of Medical Sciences (NIIMS) College and Hospital, NIU-

If you’re looking for alternatives to traditional store-bought yogurt, here are some options to consider. Higher in protein and often lower in sugar than regular yogurt. It also has a thicker texture. Made from almond, coconut, soy, cashew, oat, or other plant milk. These are suitable for those with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance, or those following a vegan diet. A fermented milk drink similar to yogurt but usually thinner in consistency. It contains a different variety of probiotics and can be consumed as a beverage or added to smoothies. An Icelandic dairy product similar to Greek yogurt but with a slightly milder flavor and creamier texture. It is high in protein and low in fat. Making yogurt at home allows you to control the ingredients and avoid additives. You can use traditional dairy milk or plant-based milk. If you’re primarily interested in the probiotic benefits of yogurt, probiotic supplements are an alternative. They come in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and powders. A high-protein alternative that can be used in similar ways to yogurt, such as in bowls with fruit or savory toppings. A European dairy product that is similar to yogurt but has a different bacterial culture, resulting in a different taste and texture. Each of these alternatives offers different nutritional profiles and benefits, so you can choose one based on your dietary needs, preferences, and health goals.

 To make homemade yogurt, heat 1 liter of milk and then let it cool. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt with live active cultures. Pour the mixture into a clean container, cover it, and place it in a warm environment for 6-12 hours until it thickens. Refrigerate for a few hours before consuming.

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