In the ongoing battle to lose weight, many people choose to cut out ‘empty’ carbohydrates. A carb is termed as empty when it offers no nutritional value past the calories it provides. Things like processed white flour and sugar are empty carbs. Dairy products can also be a source of empty carbohydrates, because many of them are very highly processed and refined. Cow’s milk, low-fat cheese, and yogurt are three of the main culprits when it comes to hidden empty carbs in the diet.
Cow’s milk is lauded as an excellent source of protein and calcium. However, an 8-ounce serving of milk has approximately 11-12 grams of carbohydrates. If you think about a typical glass that holds anywhere from 12-16 ounces, one glass of milk could have up to 25 g of carbs. One glass of milk per meal will add up to 75 extra grams of carbohydrates to your diet each day. To put it another way, that is an extra 300 calories a day just from your beverages! Reducing or eliminating cow’s milk from your diet is an easy way to knock as many as 300 calories out of your diet.
When manufacturers remove the fat from a product, they also remove the flavour. Removing the fat from cheese leaves a bland, tasteless product that no one would want to eat. So manufacturers then add flavour back in the form of salt and sugar. Often the sugar in these foods is undetectable, because of the even higher sodium levels. What ends up happening is you consume a lot of excess sugar without even noticing. This can dampen the way your taste buds and brain process the sweet flavour, which can in turn cause you to over eat on sweets.
Yogurt is a delicious and nutritious snack that can be a huge source of empty carbs. Even leaving out the yogurts filled with toxic artificial sweeteners, commercially-available yogurt has way too much of the sweet stuff. One popular type of yogurt, Dannon Activia has 110 calories and 17g of sugar in its strawberry flavour. That’s 68 calories from sugar, or 62%. Comparatively, Stonyfield Farms Oikos plain Organic Greek yogurt has 70 calories and 5g of sugar, or 29%. Even adding a handful of fresh strawberries adds a mere 10 calories and 1g of sugar. It is far better for you to choose full-fat, organic Greek yogurt and add your own fresh fruit than to choose a ready-made fruit-flavoured yogurt.
Dairy is one of the most highly-processed foods you can eat, so it makes sense that they can be a nutritional minefield. Always check the nutrition label for total carbohydrates and grams of sugar to make sure you aren’t eating too many ‘empty’ carbohydrates. You will stay fuller longer, and cut some unnecessary calories from your diet.