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Sometimes the expectations and pursuits of food from consumers are conflicting, such as yogurt. We want to make low-fat yogurt at home, so we choose low-fat milk as the raw material. However, the texture and taste of the yogurt are not good. When we buy yogurt at the supermarket, we also worry about various gel additives in the yogurt. Why does yogurt have a viscous texture and taste? Did they add thickeners? Is it be harmful to the human body?
If you drink yogurt often, you know that ordinary yogurt is relatively thin and liquid, while Greek yogurt is thicker. Does Greek yogurt also add thickeners? Will it be harmful to the body if you eat Greek yogurt often? Stabilizers and thickeners in milk usually refer to large-molecule substances that can dissolve in water. It fully hydrate under certain conditions and form sticky, smooth, and viscous solutions, also known as food gums. They are food additives with a wide range of uses in the food industry. Thickeners can effectively improve the quality and performance of food. Stabilizers can change the protein sedimentation rate, give it a good suspension effect, and also prolong the shelf life. There is indeed the phenomenon of adding these additives to yogurt, but as long as they are added in moderation, they will not harm the human body.
The taste of yogurt is closely related to its fat content. For various reasons, people often tend to reduce the fat in dairy products and even consume "fat-free dairy products", which makes the resulting yogurt less like yogurt, and the taste will also deteriorate. To solve this problem, some food gums are added, the most commonly used are modified starch, gelatin, pectin, etc. The addition of these ingredients makes the yogurt "sticky" enough to become a typical semi-solid, while also simulating the taste of fat to a certain extent.
These food gums are commonly known as "thickeners". "Thickening" itself only means increasing the viscosity of the liquid, and the use of "thickeners" in food easily gives people the feeling of "producing inferior products". In fact, these food gums are conventional food raw materials. The so-called "thickening" is also very common in traditional foods, such as "jelly". Some thickeners will be digested into single sugar molecules, absorbed into the blood circulation through the intestine, and finally provide energy for the body's activities, such as starch, and some will become amino acids, such as gelatin. Some acts as "dietary fiber" and may also provide other health benefits.
From the perspective of weight management, the use of thickeners in yogurt is meaningful. In addition, food gums such as modified starch and pectin can provide satiety but only provide relatively fewer calories, which can help control weight. Especially for dietary fiber like pectin, it is widely used in modern thickeners and promotes intestinal movement.