Is Yogurt really a Healthy Choice?

If you are searching for a healthy breakfast or snack, you may very well grab a yogurt.  Yogurt has gotten a really great reputation for being healthy, even substituting ice cream as a ‘healthier’ option.  Besides the fact that yogurt is a great source of calcium, iodine and phosphorous, among other vitamins and minerals, yogurt’s biggest claim to fame is that it contains live active bacterial cultures which may help you to live longer and may fortify your immune system.  Unfortunately, along with these great health benefits comes a ton of sugar.  Refined sugar, otherwise known as simple carbohydrates, provide very little nutrition and a load of unnecessary, empty calories.  Further, most traditional yogurts that don’t have sugar are loaded with artificial sweeteners, which, as we know, are no good for you.  Lastly, if you are interested in getting fiber and protein which makes you feel fuller for longer, traditional yogurt doesn’t cut it.

So does this mean that yogurt isn’t a healthy snack or breakfast?  Not necessarily.  Here is a great way to make yogurt a healty choice:

    1. Choose a yogurt that is low in sugars.  And choose one that is plain.  If you choose one with fruit on the bottom, you are going to get a whopping amount of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.  Fage Greek Yogurt in particular is the best choice and great tasting too.  In addition to lower sugar content, it has a higher protein content, making it more filling and nutritious. Look at the chart below:

Yogurt Facts

  1. Use real fruit. For some sweetness, add a 1/2 cup of berries…either fresh or frozen.  Real fruit will provide you with fiber in addition to the natural sugars, which will help to keep you more satisfied longer.  The fruit that already comes in yogurt (like Dannon’s Fruit on the Bottom) has preservatives and added sugars.  If you want a little more sweetness, consider using a very tiny amount of stevia.
  2. Get in a little Fat. For an even more satiating experience, choose Fage’s 2% Fat which provides you with a little fat to keep you satiated even longer.
  3. Make it Fiber-licious.  To really boost your fiber intake, add a 1/4 of raw oats or some flaxseeds to your yogurt.  This will give it more texture and fiber, keeping your digestive tract happy and healthy.

So go ahead, have some yogurt for your breakfast.  Just be smart about the kind you eat.  It can be a great choice!

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  • http://theundergroundbootcamp.com Paulin

    I agree with you regarding the fact that many store variety of yogurts are loaded with tons of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners and a variety of other unwholesome ingredients.

    However, one option that you’ve left out of your article is the option of making your own yogurt. Making homemade yogurt is easy and extremely cost effective.

  • Orlin

    I appreciate your take on plain vs. colored and sweetened varieties, but you seem to be pushing certain brands and leaving others out. Stonyfield makes an excellent organic yogurt with non-homogenized cream on the top. It is a proven fact that natural, organic, saturated animal fats do not make you fat, and the cholesterol saves your liver the trouble of having to make up the difference one’s body requires.

    • Brett

      The brands used were to show samples of different varieties. There are MANY varieties and brands of yogurt. The article is meant to illustrate the difference in quality across different brands.

  • Cynthia McClelland

    Of course any food including milk contains sugar — lactose, unless it has been processed to be lactose free. I think the biggest thing to avoid is the flavored yogurts, which virtually all have added sugars or artificial sweeteners. And that is only the beginning — some of the labels look like food by duPont or some other chemical company.

  • http://myyearwithout.blogspot.com myyearwithout.blogspot.com

    hey, cool synopsis about yogurt! i totally agree with you about all the sugars or artificial sweeteners that they use. the ONLY yogurt i eat is Nancy’s. it is really high in healthy live bacteria, too. she only uses honey as a sweetener, and not too much. she has all kinds of yogurt, some with fruit/honey, some plain, from whole milk to nonfat, AND she offers an organic variety. anyway, i thought i would pass this along because it has been VERY hard to find healthy yogurts out there. Nancy’s yogurt can be found at health food stores, fred meyer, whole foods, etc. otherwise, most typical grocery stores do not carry her variety for some reason.
    anyway, my blog is ALL about sugars so feel free to take a peek!
    myyearwithout.blogspot.com