Monday, January 10, 2011

Uber Yummy yogurt!

As one of my resolutions for this year is to eat more anti-inflammatory foods, the issue of reducing sugar intake acquires a special significance. While I don't make it a point to add sugar to my foods, do freely admit to enjoying such sweeties as Lucky Charms. A lot of us have a fondness for sugar and that isn't necessarily a bad's the overindulgence that most of us (mea culpa) partake in where problems can arise vis a vis bodily inflammation.

According to Ultraprevention authors Drs. Liponis and Hyman, overconsumption of sugar can lead to increased body inflammation.

So, of course, the idea of my reducing the amount of sugar in my diet is of interest to me. I do get my blood tested annually for things like blood glucose levels and though my level there is normal (according to my GP), I do not rest on my laurels. Type II diabetes is in my family history and even if it weren't, I know I have to be careful about my diet.

This leads to my fondness for vanilla yogurt. Even the reduced fat varieties can still have a fair amount of sugar and the nutritional assay often indicates a fairly low serving size; lower than a lot of people will eat. Think about it - if a company makes a food product that they want you to consume, they'll make it tasty so you want to eat more of it. But with nutrition labels often depicting a smaller-than-average serving size (come on, who eats only 7 almonds?) suddenly the "4g of sugar per serving" becomes "12g of sugar per serving" because the serving size is a measly 60g. If something like yogurt is being marketed as tasty then no one will eat a mere 60g serving. I know I wouldn't. I'd easily have a 180g "serving" for dessert after a hot, sweaty 15 kilometre trike trip. One hundred and eighty grams is a little under 3/4 of a cup - not a tiny amount but certainly nothing that anyone would think of as 'large' either.

I am not a huge fan of super sweet things but neither will I happily eat plain yogurt so I did the next best thing. I bought some plain yogurt and decided to flavour it myself with vanilla. I knew it wouldn't taste nearly as sweet as the fat-free, made-with-artificial-sweeteners varieties but was more than willing to try. Well, plain yogurt with just vanilla extract didn't quite work for me so I added a few drops (literally) of Nescafe brand Ice java syrup. Yes, it is sugary. Yes, it contains 18g of sugar per serving (2)...but a serving is 2 tablespoons which is far too much for a bowl of yogurt. A few drops would be commensurately less than the 80-calories-72-of-which-come-from-sugar so I felt I had successfully reduced my sugar intake without sacrificing flavour.

For a 125g (half cup) serving of my new favourite, I put in a bowl:
1 125g serving of 1% fat plain yogurt
4-5 drops of vanilla extract
2-3 drops Nescafe iced java coffee syrup

The concoction isn't as tooth-hurting sweet but it is a lovely tasting treat which I am convinced will make a fantastic apres-triking/x-c skiing/urban hike smoothie. My goal here isn't to eliminate sugar (I still like my Lucky Charms and have no intention of giving them up thank you) but to reduce the amount I consume without sacrificing nutrition or taste.

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