These days, you can’t miss the yogurt aisle. Markets now have two, three or more cases designated to this creamy delight. But with so many choices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused on which is healthiest.
Added vs. Natural Sugar
Before eyeballing any label, understand that you’ll find sugar in each any yogurt you pick up. Yogurt has natural sugar (called lactose) and unless it’s a plain variety it will also have sugar added for sweetness. The nutrition facts combine both the natural and added sugar under “sugars.” The only way to know if any sugar was added is to look at the ingredients list.
To keep in line with the recommendations from The American Heart Association, women should limit their sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons per day (or 100 calories’ worth) while men should eat a max of 9 teaspoons of sugar per day (or 150 calories). This means capping sugar to no more than 20 grams per serving, which would be about 2 teaspoons of added sugar.
Some brands use sugar substitutes instead of added sugar. This will help lower the total sugar amount–remember, you will still be getting natural sugar from the yogurt. I tend to shy away from those varieties and rather purchase a plain yogurt and flavor it myself with a touch of natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
These good bacteria are found in most yogurts help keep your digestive tract in working order. You can find the actual bacteria names under the ingredient list—look for words like L. acidophilus, L. casei, B. bifidum and B. Longum.