By : Apeksha Thakkar Clinical Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Nutrigenomic Counselor
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All About Vegan Yoghurt: An Alternative to Dairy

With more people opting for plant-based alternatives over dairy and meat-based products, the refrigerated sections of most supermarkets have been taken over by plant-based non-dairy milk, yogurts made from soy, coconut, nuts, and other plant foods.

 

What is Vegan Yogurt?

 

 

Yogurt is traditionally made from cow’s milk, but in the vegan version, non-dairy plant sources like almonds, soy, coconuts, peas, cashews, etc. are used. Notably, most vegan yogurts include probiotics or good bacteria that support healthy digestion but the species and amounts vary.

 

Nutritional Value of Vegan Yogurt

 

The nutritional value of vegan yogurt is mainly due to the plant-based ingredients used. Cereals like oat, rice, and legumes including soy, peas and nuts, and seeds have a good amount of proteins, fiber, and other bioactive compounds.

 

In a study, commercial vegan yogurt (made from soy, coconut, cashew, almond, and hemp) was analyzed. It was found that soy yogurt had the highest protein content (up to 4.6 g/100 g) and optimal amino acid balance.

Fat content was higher in yogurts with coconut, cashew, and almond as ingredients. 

The highest carbohydrates concentration was observed for coconut yogurt (8.0 g/100 g), the only one containing a higher amount than regular yogurt (6.1 g/100 g). 

 

Types of Vegan  Yogurts

 

There is a wide variety of options available for you to choose from:

 

Almond Milk Yogurt is often low in sugar and rich in healthy fats, vegetable proteins, dietary ?bre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which have a bene?cial effect on health. 

Hemp Milk Yogurt has high protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E, minerals such as iron and calcium. It provides a nutty flavour to the yogurt.

Flaxseed Yogurt provides heart-healthy omega-3 fats, about 6 grams of protein, soluble fiber, calcium, and good bacteria. The most beneficial effects of flaxseed are due to the high contents of omega-3 fatty acids and an antioxidant activity that prevents various diseases, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, and hypertension.

Cashew Milk Yogurt made from cashew milk is lower in sugar, high in fats, and is a source of good bacteria. Yet it provides less protein, about 3 grams per serving.

Coconut Milk Yogurt is low in sugar and full of antioxidants, but the protein content is just about 1 to 2 grams per 100 gm. The creamy texture is due to the high-fat content in the form of medium-chain triglycerides with myriad health benefits.

Soy Milk Yogurt has a complete protein profile with all essential amino acids similar to cow’s milk yogurt and delivers healthy fats, vitamins; minerals, particularly calcium; and antioxidants, such as isoflavones. Studies have shown that soy products can lower cholesterol and reduce blood sugar levels. 

Oat Milk Yogurt is a good source of unsaturated fatty acids, high-quality proteins, and natural antioxidants. Studies have proven the positive effects of oat fiber in reducing blood cholesterol and the blood glucose rise after meals.

 

Tips for choosing a vegan yogurt

 

When you’re shopping for plant-based yogurt, read the ingredient list carefully to minimize the following:

 

Opt for a vegan yogurt with low or no sugar.

Read the food label carefully for added sugar and other names of sugar like fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, and cane sugar. Choose plain variety vegan yogurt instead of flavoured ones as they contain high sugar. Add natural flavour at home such as berries, nuts, raisins, or dried cranberries instead of sugar.

 

Natural Flavouring or are they?

Do not be fooled by the ambiguous term ‘natural’ used here. It can contain non-natural ingredients, including chemicals, solvents, thickeners, and preservatives. 

 

Check out the protein content.

The protein content varies from product to product, hence make sure to check the amount in the yogurt. If it's on the low side, just add some crushed nuts, seeds or granola, or even a scoop of protein powder before you dig in.

 

The Takeaway

Yogurts made from plant-based milk provide an alternative to dairy even though with lesser proteins, but with the advantage of fewer saturated fats and healthier fats, and less sugar. But before indulging do flip over the container and read the ingredient list for sugar and protein content and other additives. Avoid the flavoured ones and stick to the plain ones. Add your own flavor by adding fruits or nuts and a scoop of protein powder to make it filling and healthier.

 

Recipe worth Trying 

 

Vegan Yogurt Mousse (serves 2-3)

 

Dairy-free, gluten-free and can be made in a jiffy, a delicious and healthy dessert!



 

Ingredients

¾ cup raw cashews, powdered

1 cup unsweetened vegan milk yogurt 

1 tbsp. honey 

1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice

A pinch of salt

1-inch vanilla bean or ½ tsp vanilla essence

½ cup berries 

1 medium size ripe banana, sliced

 

Method

1. Combine together all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth for about 20-30 seconds.

2. Pour into serving glasses, layered with fruits, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight until firmly set. 

3. While serving, top with berries and serve chilled.

 

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