Yogurt is one of those foods that we naturally consider to be good for us. As a result, many people are happy to grab any brand and throw it into their shopping trolley without checking what’s actually in it. The reality is that there are good yogurts and there are bad yogurts. Knowing the difference will help you to stay healthy.
Here are 4 things to look out for next time you’re shopping for yogurt.
Check the Label
Reading the label is important on all foods but even more so when it comes to a supposed heath food like yogurt. Every yogurt begins as plain yogurt, so it is the additives that make the difference. You want to avoid stabilizers, dyes, flavors and added preservatives. Generally speaking, the fewer ingredients, the better.
Sugar is the main contributor that makes yogurt unhealthy. Plain yogurt contains a minimal amount of sugar in the form of lactose but it is not naturally sweet. As a result, many manufacturers add a huge amount of sugar to make it taste better. Many flavored yogurts contained 30-40 grams of sugar per cup. Look for a brand that has no more than 15 grams.
The fat content of yogurt is largely determined by the type of milk that is used, with the options being whole milk, low fat and fat free milk. Contrary to what many people think, low fat yogurt is not always the healthiest. That’s because the removal of fat takes away flavor, which is often compensated for by added sugar.
Some of the fats found in full fat yogurt are actually good for you. Chief among these is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Probiotic bacteria is used in the making of yogurt that converts lactose into lactic acid. These provide a raft of health benefits, including boosting the immune system, lessening the effects of lactose intolerance and improving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Yogurts vary in their probiotic content, so go for the one with the highest amount.
Comparing Types of Yogurt
There are at least 10 types of yogurt to choose from. The most health giving varieties to look out for are:
- Greek Yogurt
- Goat Milk Yogurt
- Icelandic Yogurt
The 5 Healthiest Yogurts
Some yogurts are better than others. For example, there are benefits to selecting Icelandic yogurt over plain Greek yogurt, as indicated in this yogurt comparison. But what about other types of yogurt, and different brands and flavors? We highlight 5 of the best tasting, most health giving yogurts on today’s market.
Siggi’s Vanilla Yogurt
With 0% milkfat content, Siggi’s Vanilla Yogurt strained non-fat yogurt delivers plenty of taste with the added flavorings or sugar. Each serving provides you with 9 grams of sugar, 15 grams of protein and just 110 calories. Siggi’s refers to this as an Icelandic brand of yogurt.
Nancy’s Probiotic Whole-Milk Yogurt
Nancy’s Probiotic Whole-Milk Yogurt is packed full of such health promoting ingredients as hemp and chia seeds, and prebiotic fiber. The label of this product lists such added probiotic bacteria as L. acidophilus LA-5 and B. lactis BB-12.
Alpro Plain with Almond Yogurt
With just 2.2 grams of sugar per 100 grams, and the fortification of vitamins B and E, along with calcium, Alpro Plain with Almonds is an extremely healthy yogurt. This is a naturally lactose free, 100% plant based yogurt that is very fiber rich and high in protein.
Fage 2% Plain Yogurt
Fage 2% Plain Yogurt is a Greek yogurt that is very low in sugar content, while being very high in protein (20 grams per serve) and delivering a delicious natural taste.
Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt
Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt provides you with 9 grams of sugar for a sweet taste combined with a powerhouse of probiotics. These include L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. rhamnosus, and Bifidus to provide immune boosting benefits. It’s a little higher in sugar than the others on this page but not too much to be a concern.