Yogurt the western name for “curds” or “dahi” has been part of the Indian diet for centuries. Indian knew well in advance that dahi was nutritionally packed with protein and calcium, good for digestion and is good for building immunity.
Flavoured dahis have entered the Indian market a couple of years ago with Danone, Amul, Nestle, Murginns and other trying to grab a share of the growing yogurt market.
This is one product I used to miss when moving to India so when I saw Danone Mango Dahi I was quite excited but it felt odd to buy it — I was so used to the taste of my homemade dahi. Although I do buy it occasionally I have not made this part of my regular diet and neither should you. Many people have asked me about the dahi products on the market so here are some pros and cons.
Sugar – there is plenty! Danone has 13 grams of sugar(that’s probably why they taste the best) Nestle has 6grams and Murginns has 10grams per serving of 100 grams.
Preservatives – The dahi made at home starts to become just a tad bit sour each day that it remains in the fridge — this is natural. To ensure this does not occur and to increase shelf life, Supermarket dahis have to add preservatives. The fruits added are from preserved fruit pulps which are highly processed and have had many preservatives added to them as well so they are not the healthy part of this product — it is the calcium and protein.
There are many chemicals used to preserve and flavour these products and again, these are not things you want to put in your body on a regular basis. Stick to your homemade dahi, it goes excellent with our daily food and use this as a dessert item or a way to fix a sugar craving.
Quantity – Danone and Nestle about half of the American portion size – usually we try and decrease portion sizes but eating more quantity of dahi never hurt anyone, it’s not a food that you can go overboard and binge. The majority of the dahis are about 100 grams which are most likely modeled on the amount you eat with a meal — about one katori full. Eat two containers or have one with some fruit for a filling snack.
Packaging – I took out my magnifying glass to read the labels and yet on Nestle I could not read all of it.
For those travelling for work and sports persons this is a healthy snack that can be found in most small kirana shops in India. The limited availability of healthy foods for those travelling makes this product a boon.
Nutritious — It is a snack that is packed with nutrients. The term “probiotic” is used on some brands of dahi. It sounds so healthy doesn’t it? All probiotics means is something made with yeast or bacteria. For those of you who know how to make dahi, you know that you must take some of today’s dahi culture to warm milk and voila — your fresh new batch of probiotic dahi is ready in 8 hours.
Calories – “double toned milk” is the first ingredient you will see listed. This is milk where skim milk powder and water are added to the milk to reduce the fat content and that is why these dahis have very little fat and calories. There is an average of 100 calories per 100 grams.
Bottom Line: The pros outweigh the cons when you are eating this food instead of other store bought snacks such as biscuits and chips, but for your regular meals stick to the homemade variety.