Yogurt can lower your BMI, blood glucose and blood pressure

When Kelly Ripa, co-host of “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” declared that yogurt is “my dessert, my breakfast, my everything,” she was echoing the sentiments of millions of Americans. Marketing research shows that in 2018 the country gobbled down 13.4 pounds of yogurt per person. But in reality, only about half of you like the probiotic-laced food, so some folks are eating a whole lot more than that!

They’re the lucky ones. A study presented at the American Society for Nutrition meeting, Nutrition 2020, reveals that eating sugar-free yogurt regularly is associated with lower BMI, blood glucose and diastolic blood pressure. Other research indicates that regularly eating yogurt and other fermented foods, like tempeh and kimchi, may reduce the risk and duration of respiratory infections. 

The benefits are likely from the boost in gut biome health that a regular dose of good-for-you bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lactobacillus GG, and Streptococcus thermophilus provide. But all yogurt isn’t created equal. You want to skip sweetened and jam-filled versions. Instead, add fresh fruit, such as blueberries, to plain yogurt. And you want to be sure you are getting a lot of active cultures. Some brands have a “Live & Active Culture (LAC)” seal from the National Yogurt Association, indicating the brand contained at least 100 million cultures per gram when manufactured. Fortunately, most brands deliver live cultures -- even without the seal. However, heat-treated yogurt is DOA, and packaged products such as cereals and bars “made with real yogurt,” don’t deliver active cultures.

Your kids’ empty calories create a full-blown risk for their future

Participants in kettlebell competitions are judged on how well they’re able to hold the bell over their head while their body achieves “fixation,” with all joints locked and their posture in alignment. Failing to hold that position earns them a “no-count.”

Luckily, helping your kids avoid no-count foods is a lot less difficult and comes with no risks to muscles or bones! So why aren’t you doing it, Mom and Dad? 

According to a paper presented at NUTRITION 2020, one fourth of the calories kids consume are no-count nutritionally! Researchers found added sugars and solid fats were the main culprits, with younger children getting additional empty calories from fruit drinks and flavored milks, while adolescents are devouring them in pizzas, sodas and sweet baked goods. 

Such poor nutrition is a direct route to obesity and premature high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis -- even hearing loss. It also triggers inflammation that damages the immune system, brain and digestion. 

Mom and Dad, if your kids are eating no-count calories, we bet you are, too. So it’s time to take steps to protect your children’s health and improve yours! 

-- Nix drive-thrus, sodas and sugary foods. 

-- Pressed for time? Prepare large batches of healthy soups (split pea, gazpacho, chicken noodle) or stews (chicken with whole-wheat pasta and veggies) once a week.

-- Get the whole family to pitch in with grocery shopping and cooking. 

-- Great recipes are available in Dr. Mike’s “What to Eat When Cookbook.”

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