A Dietitian Tells You How to Find the Best Yogurt
Back by popular demand: Get the right yogurt for you!
We all love yogurt. But it’s easy to get confused by the variety of labels: low fat, nonfat, sugar free, all natural, organic. These tips will help you sort through all the nutrition information and find the yogurt that’s best for you:
1. Check calories per serving and the serving size.
Yogurt doesn’t come in one-size-fits-all packaging anymore. Single-serve containers range from 70 to 230 calories. Sizes range from 4 to 8 ounces. There are even “yogurt” drinks that are a measly 3 ounces. So if you’re watching calories, check to see how many servings you’re getting.
2. Search for sugar on the ingredient list.
Rather than focusing on the number of sugar grams in yogurt, look at the ingredient list. That’s because plain yogurt contains lactose, a naturally occurring sugar in dairy products. If you’re getting flavored yogurt, the sugar comes from lactose as well as from other sources, like real fruit. If you’re selecting a fruit yogurt, make sure that in addition to the fruit(s) or fruit juice(s), that you’re getting no more than one form of added sugar, such as naturally milled organic sugar. If you find a brand with two added sugars, such as fructose and high fructose corn syrup, leave it in the yogurt case.
3. Look for low saturated fat.
Most yogurts won’t be major sources of fat. But check the amount of saturated fat in a serving, since too much of it is unkind to your heart. Aim for 2 or fewer grams of saturated fat per serving.
4. Pick by calcium percentage.
Yogurts provide varying levels of calcium, from around 10 to 40 percent of the Daily Value (DV) per serving. That means all yogurts are considered a good source of this bone-friendly nutrient. Plain regular yogurt tends to be on the higher end of the calcium spectrum; Greek and soy varieties tend to be on the lower end. (However, Greek yogurts are thicker, creamier, and provide more protein, while soy yogurts provide many plant-based benefits and are a good non-dairy alternative.) If yogurt is the main way you get calcium, aim high. Otherwise, just know the amount that you’re getting so you can be sure to hit 100 percent each day from all sources.