A mainstay of many healthy diets, yogurt is a dairy product made through the bacterial fermentation of milk. It’s known for its beneficial impact on gut health and the many nutrients it contains, but yogurt can also contain a lot of sugar and fats, so it’s important to be aware of what’s actually in that cup when you eat yogurt every day.
Below we’ve listed seven things that could happen to your body if you eat yogurt every day, and for more healthy tips be sure to check out the 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
For some, the desire to lose weight can have people turning to every sort of option. Whether it’s getting religiously into exercise or monitoring what you eat, or usually a combo of these things. In terms of eating healthier, it can be helpful to eat yogurt every day for weight loss as well.
“Regular intake of healthy bacteria, such as the kind from yogurt, has been shown to have positive effects on weight management and the GI tract,” says Morgyn Clair, RD. “Eating yogurt daily can help you reach a healthy weight while still providing a satisfying snack.”
Gut health might not be something you think about all of the time, but it’s something that’s very necessary to maintain in order to keep an overall healthy lifestyle. Our gut is responsible for digesting food and absorbing nutrients, so it’s of the utmost importance to have it running smoothly—one thing that can help in that process is yogurt.
“Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are used in the yogurt-making process,” says Melissa Schuster, RD and owner of Schuster Nutrition. “These bacteria help sustain a healthy gut microbiome, which is important in digesting fiber into short-chain fatty acids and synthesizing vitamins. A healthy gut microbiome can reduce inflammation.”
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While yogurt can be beneficial for gut health, it can also harm more sensitive stomachs. If you have problems with lactose, or if dairy makes you sick, steer clear of yogurt, which is produced through the bacterial fermentation of milk, although there are yogurt alternatives for those who are dairy-free or lactose intolerant. Yogurt may also contribute to a condition called small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), according to Melanie Keller, a naturopathic doctor and an expert in gut health.
“The probiotics in yogurt may be too much for someone and contribute to a condition called small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO),” Keller says. “The sugar and/or sugar substitutes in yogurt can feed the bacteria and make the overgrowth worse.”
Heal your gut with these 20 Best Foods for Gut Health.
Your mom always told you to drink milk because it would build strong bones, and unlike some other things your mom always said, this one was true, but maybe she forgot to say that yogurt could build strong bones as well. Dairy products, including yogurt, are great sources of calcium, which is the main mineral in bones. Health expert Amber O’Brien, of the Mango Clinic, also said yogurt is beneficial for those who suffer from osteoporosis.
“Yogurt helps you in maintaining your bone health because of the important nutrients it contains,” O’Brien says. “Consuming dairy foods including yogurt preserves the bone mass of people suffering from osteoporosis.”
Between the pandemic, work stress, and any other thing that could bring someone down it’s easy to find yourself down in the dumps from time to time. There are the classic ways to improve your mood that you’ve been told dozens of times—working out, sleeping more, volunteering—but eating yogurt is a surprising mood-booster that might be the simplest of all to try.
“Eating yogurt for breakfast improves mood because yogurt maintains the microbiome which in turn sends good signals to the brain,” says nutritionist Hiba Batool from Marham.
Looking for even more mood boosters? Check out our list of 13 Mood-Boosting Snacks to Make Your Day Better.
In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to have an effective immune system to fight off diseases and infections, and one of the ways to boost an immune system is by eating the probiotics that are found in yogurt.
“Yogurt is full of probiotics, which are bacteria that improve our gut health,” says Megan Byrd, RD from The Oregon Dietitian. “By eating yogurt every day, you continue to supply your GI tract with healthy bacteria. These healthy bacteria prevent ‘bad’ bacteria from taking over, which leads to improved gut and immune health.”
Although Batool said that people with an already weakened immune system, including those who have received organ transplants or have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, might react poorly to yogurt because of the bacteria. She added that this would only happen when large quantities of yogurt are consumed.
One of the downsides of store-bought yogurt is that certain brands are jam-packed with sugar, which is included in the flavorings and syrups added to create a wide range of flavors for different brands.
“Always buy plain yogurt and add in your own fruits to minimize the risk of taking in hidden sugars,” says Dr. Amy Lee, who serves as the chief medical officer for more than 30 nutrition clinics.
Don’t know what to buy? Check out our list of The 20 Best and Worst Greek Yogurts, According to Nutritionists.