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Living Well in Yalobusha County

Extension Service Will Close For Two Weeks

The Extension Service will be closed Wednesday, December 21 thru Monday, January 2.  We will reopen on Tuesday, January 3 at 8 a.m.  We hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year. 

Don’t forget we have a new program starting in January! Walk a Weigh is a 10-week nutrition education and physical activity program designed to promote healthy nutrition practices and increased physical activity through educational lessons and the creation of walking groups. The program will monitor participants’ weight each week and monitor participants’ glucose and blood pressure twice during the program.  Walk a Weigh will meet once a week for 10 weeks.  Our meeting dates are  January 5, 9, 17, 23 and 30; February 6, 13, 20 and 27; and March 6, starting at 3:45 p.m. each day in the Coffeeville High School Auditorium. The cost is $5 and the program is open to the public.  For more information contact me at the Extension office at 675-2730 or email me at

Our Healthy You exercise classes are free and continue to meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 until 9:45 a.m. Make sure that you wear cool, comfortable clothes, good walking shoes and bring some water to drink. Exercise class will not meet Wednesday, December 21 – Monday, January 2.  We will resume Exercise classes on Wednesday, January 4.

Just because the holidays are here, doesn’t mean that you have to let good nutrition and healthy living take a backseat for a month!  Check out our Facebook page at MSU – Yalobusha County Extension Service for our “Maintain Don’t Gain” daily tips.

Is Yogurt Healthy?

Yogurt has been around for thousands of years, at least since 6000 BC. The word yogurt is believed to come from the Turkish word “yog?urmak,” which means to thicken, coagulate, or curdle. Most yogurt today is made from cow’s milk fermented with Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptoco-ccus thermophiles bacteria, the live and active cultures found in many types of yogurt. 

The first lactic acid bacteria was identified in 1905, and researchers believed that the lactobacilli in yogurt were associated with a long and healthy life. This made yogurt popular as a health food. Today, yogurt retains its place in the market as a healthy food, but the high added sugar content of most types of yogurt actually puts them in the category of dessert rather than health food. 

According to the American Heart Association, flavored and sweetened yogurt is one of the top sources of added sugars in the American diet. It’s often difficult to find plain yogurt hidden among the wide variety of flavors available. One company alone has 14 different dessert flavors (their description) including Boston crème Pie, lemon meringue and strawberry cheesecake. 

The top-selling yogurt flavors in 2014 in the US are strawberry (5.79%) and blueberry (4.04%), followed by vanilla, peach, plain, raspberry, honey, etc. The perceived health benefits of certain flavors (such as pomegranate or acai berry) also help drive yogurt flavor trends. 

However, the perception of yogurt as a healthy food doesn’t match the reality that flavored yogurt is sweetened with added sugar in various forms, including cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, sugar, honey and brown sugar.

These flavorings come at a cost of added sugar, ranging between 4 grams (8 g total sugar content) in a mixed berry Greek yogurt to 23 grams (29g total sugar content) in one split cup honey Greek yogurt. A teaspoon of table sugar is equivalent to 4 grams of sugar; this means that the honey Greek yogurt contains almost six added teaspoons of sugar.

As much as we want to believe that the fruit in yogurt counts toward our daily fruit serving, thanks to all the sugar that gets added to it, that kind of fruit is much closer to jam. For example, the Fruit on the Bottom Blueberry yogurt has 12 grams of added sugar (24g total sugar content) in a single container. If you want to keep yogurt as part of your diet without consuming way too much added sugar, here’s what I recommend: enjoy plain yogurt and add your own flavoring. That way, you control how much sugar you add. Consider mixing in fresh fruit, fruit canned in its own juice, unsweetened applesauce, or frozen fruit without added sugar. You could also flavor it with vanilla, cinnamon and/or nutmeg.

Communicating Food for Health Newsletter, January 2016

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