Is Yogurt Good for Weight Loss and Dieting?
What is the yogurt diet?
The yogurt diet started as an internet phenomenon and is based on a 2008 publication ‘The Yogurt Diet: put some culture in your diet,’ by Ana Luque, a self-proclaimed nutritionist and certified holistic health practitioner. Her current practice is based in Beverly Hills and Manhattan Beach, CA. According to Ana, the secret to good health, your ideal weight and a long life is adding probiotic-rich yogurt to your regime. Yogurt has been around for thousands of years and the ‘healthy bacteria’ it contains, according to the Yogurt Diet claims, reverses damage to the body caused by the overuse of antibiotics, over-consumption of processed foods and sugar, chronic stress, a lack of sleep and other variables.
Per Ana, a bacterial imbalance in the GI tract contributes to or worsens endocrine and autoimmune disorders, such as obesity, arthritis and diabetes, digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease, yeast infections and other conditions. Nearly all of these conditions can be managed, if not reversed by making probiotic yogurt a regular staple in your diet. Yogurt keeps the proper balance of friendly bacteria in the gut. This is both a weight loss and health management diet book.
Are there rules (a meal plan) to follow?
The yogurt diet book includes five weeks of sample menus and over 90 yogurt-based recipes (also gluten-free) that offer ‘exclusive’ combinations of foods enabling you to lose weight while regaining total health. The basic recommendation is to consume three well-balanced meals and three servings of homemade, organic full-fat yogurt daily. Portion control is essential for success. Other recommendations include cooking exclusively with olive oil and completely eliminating food products containing high fructose corn syrup. All processed “junk” foods are discouraged. The diet basics are written in a user-friendly, easy-to-understand, concise manner. The author encourages you to make your own yogurt and explains how to do this.
Does it work?
There is very little available online regarding the details of this diet, its successes or testimonials of current/past users. Per the website, you can lose 10 pounds in one week. The meal plans are calorie-controlled and exercise is encouraged. You are likely to lose weight through calorie restriction and avoiding processed foods. In addition, the diet is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than is typically recommended which facilitates weight loss. While there is some valid scientific evidence that dairy products, especially yogurt, may enhance weight loss and fat oxidation, it is not conclusive.
What are the pros/cons?
There is little doubt that yogurt is truly a super food. In addition to being packed with protein, vitamin D, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin and other nutrients, this fermented dairy product is rich in probiotics.
Probiotics have been shown to enhance immunity, lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, prevent yeast infections, prevent stomach ulcers and improve digestive health. A diet that encourages regular yogurt consumption definitely has something very right. Yogurt, like most dairy products, contains an ideal balance of the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrate and fat. The book includes healthy recipes, particularly versatile, unconventional ways to use yogurt in otherwise yogurt-free dishes. The plan is clear and easy to understand.
However, you should always be skeptical of a diet that claims that one food/food group can ‘cure’ or reverse complicated and serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and ulcerative colitis. The benefits of detoxification diets are not backed by solid, consistent scientific evidence. The book is authored by a popular certified holistic practitioner. Experts in Ayurvedic medicine, these practitioners offer suggestions backed by alternative medicine, which may be lacking significant scientific research. Use of terms such as ‘nutritional maximization,’ ‘nutritional harmony’ and ‘genetic architecture and design’ are confusing, abstract and lack definition. This diet plan recognizes the benefits of using a supplement proven to assist with weight loss, burn fat and act as an appetite suppressant. Nutritional supplements may be dangerous and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Prescription medications, particularly FDA approved stimulants/fat inhibitors and/or appetite suppressants may be appropriate for some individuals, for short-term use under the close supervision of a medical doctor.
- E Fabian and I Elmadfa. Influence of daily consumption of probiotic and conventional yoghurt on the plasma lipid profile in young healthy women. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(4):387-93. PMID:16816529.
- HS Gill, KJ Rutherfurd and ML Cross. Enhancement of immunity in the elderly by dietary supplementation with probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. Am J Clin Nutr 2001 Dec 74;74(6):833-9.