What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is a fermented dairy product made by adding micro-organisms in the form of starter culture to pasteurised full cream-, low fat- or fat free milk. The micro-organisms consist of harmless bacteria, usually lactic acid bacteria, in various combinations, which ferments the milk and make it possible to develop a wide range of products with different flavours, textures, consistencies, functions and health benefits. The characteristics of the micro-organisms and strains used, determine the health advantages of fermented products. The use of health enhancing probiotic cultures in yogurt is important. An oral probiotic is defined as “living“ micro-organisms which upon ingestion in certain numbers, exert health benefits beyond inherent basic nutrition. Probiotics may be consumed either as a food component or as a non-food preparation (capsules or pills). Yogurt that is marketed under various brand names contains various micro-organisms and only few contains probiotic strains.



Fermented products contain the same nutritional value as the milk they are made of and are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Nutritionally, plain yogurt has a similar composition to that of the milk from which it is made and is an excellent source of high quality protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and the B vitamins, riboflavin, B12 and niacin.

Nutritional properties remain similar regardless of the method of production e.g. stirred, compared to set yogurts. However, the composition can be modified by changes brought about by the bacteria in the starter culture during the fermenta= tion process, by synthesis or release of nutrients or other substances by the bacteria in the starter culture by addition of other ingredients during manufacture, e.g .skimmed milk powder, fruit or fruit juice, and by storage conditions.

People who suffers from lactose intolerance benefits largely from eating yogurt because the lactose is turned into lactic acid during fermentation.

Different Varieties

When You Choose A Yogurt, Check The Label For:

  • Kilojoules – fat, sweetener and fruit will determine it
  • Nutritional value – protein, carbohydrates etc • Fat content – fat free 0,5%, low fat 2,2 % full cream 3,3 %
  • Flavours – flavoured with flavouring or real fruit added
  • Additives - preservatives, sugar / sweetener
  • Culture – live – probiotic qualities
  • Taste – the culture used in the preparation of the yogurt determines the flavor and taste of the yogurt.
  • Temperature and time also plays a role in the final taste of every batch.
  • Extend your knowledge by reading advertisements on different brands of yogurt on the market. Yogurt can be added into a number of dishes as part of a balanced diet. It can be used to replace high density kilojoule foods such as cream in a variety of dishes. (see Gero recipes)