French Women's Diet Secret: Yogurt

Easy, portable, and tasty, yogurt may also aid in weight loss

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte E. Grayson, MD

For many years, eating yogurt has been associated with good health. The creamy dairy food has long been a staple of Mediterranean, Indian, and French diets. In fact, according to Mireille Guilliano, author of the best-selling French Women Don't Get Fat, yogurt is one of the French secrets to weight control.

Americans love their yogurt just as much as the French, although we don't necessarily think of it as diet food. We gobbled up $2.5 billion worth last year. Stroll down the yogurt aisle at your supermarket and you'll see a dizzying array of choices: trendy new flavors, additives ranging from granola to candy, fat-free and sugar-free types, creamy blended varieties, drinkable and squeezable yogurts, and fiber-enriched and probiotic options.

No wonder we love it, in all its forms. Yogurt is portable, convenient, nutritious, and delicious, and works for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.

Yogurt and Weight Loss

In her book, Guiliano touts yogurt as the ultimate way to manage hunger.

"Yogurt is the perfect food because it is high in calcium, [and] has carbs, protein and fat, which are what you need in every meal," she tells WebMD.

She says most French women eat one or two yogurts a day, and often enjoy it for breakfast -- especially after an evening of overindulgence, to help balance out the calories.