The many layers of Yogurt… How do I choose?

Yogurt can be a good source of protein and calcium and can be used as a breakfast, snack or even dessert. Some yogurts contain added Vitamin D, such as Dannon, Silk, So Delicious, Stonyfield, YoCrunch, and Yoplait.

Yogurt is made from two strains of bacteria that are added to milk. The question is, can yogurt’s “live” or “active cultures” restore beneficial bacteria to your gut? There has not been good evidence to prove this is true. The only clear benefit so far, is yogurt’s ability to change lactose into lactic acid, which may help those with lactose intolerance.

With all the different yogurts out here, how do you choose the best one for you? Here are some good tips to keep in mind when strolling down the yogurt aisle.

·      Watch out for mix-ins! When you are given extras to put in your yogurt, such as chocolate covered balls of crispy rice cereal, think added sugar and calories!

·      Full fat yogurts- Watch out for code words, such as “authentic”, “traditional”, indulgently silky” and “hand-crafted”. These yogurts are typically made from whole milk, which means high calorie, high saturated fat.

·      Sugary Bliss- Next time you are at the grocery store, compare Chobani’s Greek yogurt plain to their flavored variety. The plain has about 7 grams of sugar, while the flavored contains roughly 19 grams of sugar! Unfortunately, most flavored yogurts, especially those with added fruit contain a large amount of sugar. Yogurt companies don’t have to tell you what’s natural and what’s added, so you have to assume most is added.

Your best bet, when it comes to choosing yogurt is going for the non-fat, plain and adding your own fruit at home. You save on calories, saturated fat, and sugar. If you are needing more protein in your diet, grab the Greek, non-fat plain, which can have twice as much protein as regular yogurt.