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A question that I get regularly from my clients and follower is about yogurt. People want to know if it’s healthy to eat yogurt since it contains sugar. This is a really great question especially if you are trying to cut back on the sugar in your diet.
Yogurt is marketed as a delicious food that promotes health, and for good reason. One (6 oz.) container of yogurt contains 20 – 30 percent of your daily calcium needs, plus other key nutrients like protein, potassium, and B vitamins. It may help to prevent osteoporosis and high blood pressure according to some research. In addition, yogurt contains probiotics which can help to regulate your digestive system and boost your immunity.
The tricky part is choosing a healthy yogurt. With all the different brands and marketing claims, it can be really difficult to make a healthy choice especially when it comes to the sugar content.
Today I’m going to give you a few tips to help make the best choice.
The first thing you want to do is choose a yogurt without added sugar.
We know that the consumption of an excessive amount of added sugar can lead to weight gain. In addition, eating too much sugar promotes chronic inflammation which, in turn, is connected to chronic diseases including obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, food labels on yogurt (and so many other products in the grocery store) are confusing because they list total sugars – not added sugar – and it’s the added sugar we need to be watching out for. In fact, there are over 50 different names for added sugar (link)! So, always check the ingredient list and be on the lookout for additives such as high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, corn syrup solids, and fruit juice concentrates. If the yogurt doesn’t contain any added sugar on the ingredient list than you can feel confident that the only sugar in the yogurt is from lactose which is a naturally-occurring sugar.
The best yogurts have just two ingredients – milk and active cultures. No added sugar, no artificial sweeteners like sucralose, no fillers, thickeners, or stabilizers, and no added colors or flavorings.
There are two other points I’d like you to consider…
Choose a brand that is organic preferably from cows that are grass-fed.
Yogurt made with milk from cows that are feed on grass will be naturally higher in healthy polyunsaturated fats like omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). And organic yogurt will not have any genetically modified ingredients (GMO), herbicides, pesticides, or growth hormone drugs.
Go for full-fat yogurt rather than a low fat or no fat variety.
After years of recommendations to choose a lower fat or fat-free alternative, recent research shows that dietary fat is not related to an increase in heart disease and that eating fat may actually help you maintain a healthier weight. The fatty acids in full fat yogurt play a role in regulating the hormones that control appetite. This is why we feel full when we consume fat, and when we feel full, we eat less.
The only kind of yogurt I recommend is plain organic yogurt (Greek or regular) preferably from grass-fed cows. You can sweeten it yourself with fresh fruit and a few drops of vanilla extract or a sweet spice like cinnamon. Add chopped walnuts or almonds for crunch; and I love to top it off with a sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut.
I like the Stonyfield brand of yogurt. It’s readily available in most grocery stores and it doesn’t cost much more than other varieties. If you (or your family) eat yogurt on a regular basis, it’s worth the investment.
Thanks for listening today! Please post your comments or questions below. I’d love to know what’s on your mind.