Vegan yogurts – so many to choose from
Yogurt has always been popular as a breakfast food, dessert or snack, and vegan options are widely available in almost every grocery store these days. Most brands are made from soy, coconut, cashew, oat or almond milk, and have an ever-increasing range of flavors to choose from.
Vegan yogurts have many advantages. The health advantages of switching to vegan products include reducing the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol and avoiding lactose, the sugar primarily found in milk and dairy products. This is particularly important for the 36% of Americans, and 68% of the world population that have some degree of lactose intolerance.
In addition, the dairy industry contributes to around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and uses up vast amounts of land and freshwater. Vegan products carry a much smaller environmental footprint.
The ethical considerations of reducing the suffering of dairy cows that are repeatedly impregnated every year, and then have their babies taken from them so that they can be milked for human consumption, is also important to remember.
Nutritionally, the amount of protein varies, depending on the base used – soy has the most protein, while almond and coconut yogurt contain very little, with oat yogurt somewhere in between. You can always sprinkle chopped nuts on your yogurt to add extra protein for young children and seniors who may need a little extra.
Most vegan yogurts have extra calcium, vitamins D and B12, plus live and active cultures which may contribute to gut health. Many are made of organic ingredients which are better for us and the environment. Choose an unsweetened yogurt and add your own fruit, if seeking to reduce your sugar intake.