How many of you love fruit flavoured yogurt? It is a tasty, healthy light alternative to other desserts. Also it is convenient, all you need to do pop into your local supermarket and there it is, waiting for you on the shelf- you buy it, scoff it in two seconds all happy and satisfied because it fits your healthy eating routine.
Well, my dear friend, how deadly wrong you are… just like cereals and bottled water fruit yogurt is yet another multi-million marketing invention. Adding fruit to yogurt is simple yet brilliant, who even thought about it? Thousands of mothers and grandmothers from parts of the world that produce, eat, cook with and love yogurt. Still, enjoying homemade yogurt and mixing it with seasonal fruits is one thing, while producing fruit yogurt for mass consumption is an entirely different story.
First of all, in order for a product to appear on the shelf, it needs to follow certain health and safety regulations as well as industrial protocols. There are laws binding producers to reveal certain formula information- laws that are complex, unspecific and limiting at times. The use of certain unnatural and harmful additives is not prohibited and the detailed specifications, especially with flavorings, are not requested legally.
Also I must admit, the typical consumer is uninformed about what they eat- for them whatever is sold in the supermarket is good enough. You don’t have the time and the nerve to read labels and even if you do you are not sure how to evaluate the information. Well, today, hopefully I will manage to open your eyes a little bit for you to see and understand the food business as is and hopefully learn to make better decisions in the future.
The following are images of labels from two popular strawberry yogurts:
As you can see there is a list of weird sounding and chemically complex elements. I am going to list these elements and inform you about their side effects:
- Pectin- causes nausea, flatulence and abdominal pain
- Citric acid- erosion of teeth, localized irritation
- Guar gum- intestinal tension, colitis
- Sodium citrate- metabolic alkalosis, muscle spasms, elevated sodium
- Acesulfame K- hampers metabolism because there is no way of it being processed, possible links to breast cancer, hypoglycemiaSource: E for Additives by Maurice Hanssen & Jill Marsden
For the rest that I have not mentioned, side effects are inconclusive and further research is necessary for clear side effects to be listed. Of course it is in the interest of many multinationals to use these additives so it would not surprise me is efforts to identify side effects have been abandoned. While the legal framework seeks to protect us from toxic and hazardous elements by restricting the quantity of additives in a given product, how do you feel about feeding your body with un-natural and possibly harmful elements- not good. Thought so!
Don’t worry! Today I will go through the steps of making a natural berry yogurt from scratch. It is very easy and takes no time at all. The procedure is the same for any fruit so feel free to experiment with different flavours!
Red berry Yogurt
1-cup natural yogurt (Yeo Valley or Rachel’s Organic)
Handful of raspberries
Handful of strawberries
2 tbsp. caster sugar, xylitol, stevia or any healthy sweet alternative
Mint leaves, strawberries and raspberries for decoration
- Wash the fruits, chop the strawberries in halves and juice them.
- Add juice in a sauce pan together with the 2 tbsp. sugar
- Bring to the boil, allow to cool off. Refrigerate.
- Decorate plate with chopped strawberries, raspberries. Pour the natural yogurt on top, pour the fruit coulis and decorate with mint leaves.
There you go! How easy was that 🙂 Enjoy it!