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July 11, 2009

A Tale of Two Yogurts

Filed under: Food — Twistie @ 8:30 am

It’s been quite a while now since I banished diet foods from my life. I don’t buy low-fat or no-fat anything. I do keep some artificial sweeteners around, but only for Mr. Twistie to help him manage his diabetes.

This isn’t a political statement or an attempt to enforce food rules on anyone else, I just prefer my foods full fat. Why?

Well, let me illustrate my reasons with a tale of two yogurt experiences less than a week apart.

A few days ago, Mr. Twistie had a morning meeting with a fabulous singer. They were collaborating on a song and he was going to show her his half of the lyrics. I promised her homemade biscuits, because that’s just the sort of thing I tend to do. And armed as I was with La Petite Acadiene’s foolproof recipe, well, I did precisely what I’m wont to do. I baked. Oh, and they turned out gorgeous! Really, if you haven’t taken down the recipe and tried it out, do yourself a favor and do it now. Yum.

Being me, I also entirely failed to leave it at biscuits. I fried up some sausage, too. As a final gesture at gracious living, I mixed three single serving sized containers of full-fat yogurt with some raspberries and cut up strawberries, squirted in a tablespoon or so of honey, and added that as a side dish.

Breakfast was a hit. But of course since there were only three of us and I cooked enough for an army, there were leftovers. At lunchtime I was poking around the fridge for inspiration, and there it was: leftover yogurt and fruit. Just what I wanted! There was perhaps a dry cup measure of the mixture left. I had that and was full. Not only that, I was full and satisfied until nearly dinnertime.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling less than perky. My throat felt as though someone was sandpapering it, my eyes had that unfocused from fever thing going on, and I generally felt it might not be a bad thing if someone just ended it all for me.

I asked my husband if, in his wanderings for the day, he could pick me up a couple of items from the easy-to-swallow-when-your-throat’s-on-fire column, including a bit of yogurt. Mr. Twistie, being of sound mind and in healthy fear for his manbits if he disappointed his unwell spouse, complied. He’s a wonderful guy, you know.

So I sat down with a yogurt almost immediately.

Now as I said, Mr. Twistie is a wonderful guy. He does his best to please me at all times. He’d brought a dozen yogurts in flavors he knew I would like. Unfortunately, there’s  one thing he didn’t check carefully and I could taste it from the first bite: those yogurts were ‘lite.’

The artificial sweetener hit my tongue like lightly sweetened metal. Ten minutes later, I wanted another yogurt, not because I was hungry, but because my body wasn’t satisfied with what I’d just put in it. I could hear my entire digestive tract yelling ‘you’ve got to be freaking kidding me’ all the way up to my ears.

It suddenly hit me, all the time when I did use low-fat and no-fat products, I kept eating more than I really wanted. Why? Because my body and my tongue and my mind were all left wanting more with every bite. I probably wound up eating at least as much fat and at least as many calories without the satisfaction. At the end, I still wanted more. I was just completely out of space to put it in. But as soon as I had any room at all in my belly, I was snacking away to get the satisfaction.

If you find yourself eating way more than you intended when you eat no-fat foods, you might do worse than try a full-fat product and see if you get what you’re looking for.


  1. Don’t forget that “lite” foods usually switch out fat and replace it with loads of junk sugars (yes, even if they use a bunch of artificial sweeteners too). Yogurts in particular will be “fat free” but loaded with artificial sweeteners, food additives that are really just legally sanctioned forms of MSG, gelatine (another cheap sugar form) and other “gums”.

    Real yogurt (the kind that’s been eaten for millennia) should be full fat raw milk based. Without the fat, no matter what you do to the plain dairy substance you say you’re making it from, none of its benefits will ever be nutritionally available to you. And it will taste horrible, on top of that. To me, that’s the definition of “what’s the point?”

    Comment by chachaheels — July 11, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  2. It’s like the study done a couple of years ago that showed the nutrients in lettuce and most salad fixings are inaccessible without fat. So a green salad with just a squirt of lemon juice really only gives the person who eats it roughage.

    Me, there’s a dairy man at the local farmer’s market who does a low-fat greek-style yogurt. It’s fabulous. I add my own fruit or jam to flavor it. I’ve been told to minimize my animal fats for a heart condition. I can’t stand the fat-free and low-fat yogurts from the supermarket (mostly because there isn’t a single artificial sweetener that doesn’t make me sick), but this guy’s yogurt gives me the best of both worlds.

    I’ve certainly been happier and healthier since I started cooking for one rather than relying on a microwave and pre-made food.

    Comment by Fabrisse — July 11, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  3. I’d rather have a little bit of the real thing than a lot of the fake. (I do, however, use Splenda to sweeten my coffee and my oatmeal.) I cook almost everything we eat anyhow. I am a better cook than Sara Lee or Kraft or whoever and I for sure am a better cook than someone who has sucked all the fat and sugar out of a cheesecake.

    As far as yogurt, store-bought yogurt is crap. What do they put in that stuff? I have made my own yogurt, which is super easy AND you can use full-fat milk, which makes delish yogurt.

    Comment by class factotum — July 11, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  4. This has been my experience as well. With a very limited food budget, I bought lots of the cheap food which is usually processed to hell and gone and full of crap carbs. I found that I could buy less, spend less, on quality foods, feel better and actually be more satisfied with my food intake than I was buying crap food in bulk.

    The hard part, for someone in my socio-economic stratum, is the switch-over. The first grocery trip is hella expensive.

    Oh, and the family members. The kids were very happy with Hamburger Helper. They are not so happy with fresh veggies, whole grain pastas, lean meat and fruits. Keith is a red-meat-and-potatoes kinda guy, too. I say, “This ain’t Burger King. You don’t get it your way.” They grumble but they aren’t starving themselves.

    Comment by Christina — July 11, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

  5. I think I got caught in the moderation queue.

    Comment by Christina — July 11, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

  6. I think the trick with yogurt is not the fat content, but the straining. I like nonfat Greek yogurt – which lacks many of the additives that the “light and fit” yogurts have, though I have these in my fridge too.

    Comment by sydney — July 11, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  7. Ditto on DIY yogurt, especially if your oven has a “warm” setting or a pilot light, which will make it just the right temp for incubating the yogurt cultures. It is seriously easy (the recipe essentially comes down to heating and then cooling milk, stirring in a little bit of other yogurt for the cultures, and incubating it for at least a few hours at about 110 degrees) and if you mix it up before bed, leave it in a warm oven overnight, and strain it through some cheesecloth to remove the whey when you get up, you have yourself some seriously delicious homemade greek-style yogurt for breakfast. You can use skim milk, full-fat milk, or anything in between, although the full-fat results are generally a bit creamier than skim. Add a little bit of honey and some fruit, maybe a piece of toast, you have a seriously delicious and healthy breakfast that keeps you full for way longer than anything you can buy at the grocery store, fat free or otherwise. All part of giving your body the tools and building materials it needs to do what it’s got to do.

    Comment by Leah — July 11, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  8. After trying Greek yogurt for the first time several months ago, I will never go back to the Dannon or Yoplait I used to eat. And I’m with you on the full-fat or full-sugar varieties of foods. If I’m going to eat something, I want the real thing. It’s all about variety (which is something I need to work on, as mentioned in my comment on Plumcake’s food issues post) and reasonable portion size. The only “diet” thing I consume is the lower-calorie version of Vitamin Water, and that’s not so much about the calorie count for me as it is about the regular version being too sweet for my tastes. I prefer my beverages to be flavored, but not overly sweetened.

    Comment by Cat — July 11, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

  9. While I am in general agreement, I’ve found I do prefer skim milk and fat free cottage cheese. I was raised on 2% milk, and when I had the choice in college between whole and skim, the whole just had a mouthfeel that was too thick for me. It’s a similar story with the cottage cheese; I don’t want it to be rich and creamy.

    Comment by TeleriB — July 11, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

  10. Thank you thank you thank you. I was obsessing about that just this week. I am starting to feel like a freak of nature, just because I prefer full fat yogurt. I don’t actually desperately love yogurt, I eat about one every month. But IF I do, I want it to be creamy in texture and taste. Is that too much to ask? If I accidentally buy the low fat stuff it always turns out to be crumbly and somewhat sour and completely unsatisfying, and I have to go off and find something else to eat – when all I wanted in the first place was just a simple ordinary yogurt!
    If I want some random sour, crumbly dairy product I can just as well leave some milk in the back of my fridge and forget about for a few weeks.

    Here in Germany full fat yogurt is getting harder and harder to find, especially as I prefer the non-flavoured kind. I’m wondering if eating normal yogurt is slowly turning into some unspeakable kink, the instruments for which have to be hidden away into the farthest and darkest corner of the dairy isle.

    And, uh, speaking of kink, is this me suffering from a dry spell (if you know what I mean) or is the “creamy in texture and taste” a bit, you know, erm, ambiguous?

    Comment by Alexandra — July 12, 2009 @ 5:58 am

  11. I’m so glad the biscuits turned out well for you, Twistie!

    And I’m in full agreement on the full-fat yogurt. I do prefer 1% milk and cottage cheese (2% milk just makes me feel like my mouth is being coated), but fat-free yogurt is just not satisfying at all, and I’m convinced it’s nowhere near as good for you.

    I eat the Astro Balkan plain yogurt, and the full ingredients list is as follows: “skim milk, cream, active bacterial culture.” I actually recognize those ingredients! Besides, the funny thing is that with my gestational diabetes, full-fat plain yogurt is MUCH better for my glucose levels than fruit-flavoured fat-free yogurts. So it’s win-win all around.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — July 12, 2009 @ 10:35 am

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