Yogurt is a staple in my refrigerator and I know I’m not the only one who can’t live without it. It’s full of great bacteria for your gut, is an excellent option for a morning protein punch (or snack), and can be added to your favorite dips in lieu of not so healthy condiments.
Despite all of its positive traits, the industry has found a way to make the majority of yogurt found in the supermarket equivalent to eating a piece of cake. Their deceiving packaging is confusing for many who view yogurt as a simple and healthy addition to a meal or snack.
The shelves are lined with over a hundred different types of yogurt, many claiming to be non-fat, low fat, and the magic pill to a slimmer waist. It’s frustrating to see commercials that associate weight loss with eating a yogurt that tastes like key lime pie. (You know what I’m talking about!) I’m not sure if they have good intentions, but I do know that our yogurt craze is turning into an unhealthy craze.
Sugar is one of the main points of contention for yogurt lovers. Yogurt does contain naturally occurring sugars (lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk products while fructose is a naturally occurring sugar in fruit). For example, one cup of plan low-fat yogurt has about 12 grams of naturally occurring sugar. However, it’s the added sugars that you need to watch out for such as sweeteners.
If you look at the image below you can see that one serving of the light and fat-free key lime pie yogurt has 11 grams of sugar. Obviously, a very small portion of that is natural (a serving is 6 ounces so about 6 grams). Now, if you look at the ingredient label you’ll see that the second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, which means that’s the second largest ingredient in the yogurt. Then the 9th ingredient is aspartame. (If you don’t know what aspartame is, please check this article out. Aspartame contains three different components: methanol, phenylalnine and aspartic acid, all of which have been shown to either stimulate brain cells to death, severely disrupt hormone balances in the brain or act as a dangerous nerve poison. It also accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA, which included seizures and death. And think of how many kids are eating these “fruity” yogurts everyday because it’s “good for them.”) Then there’s Yellow #5 and Blue #1, which both are chemicals derived from petroleum (yes, the stuff you put in your gas tank in your car). They have been show to have long-term health problems such as asthma, skin rashes and migraines.
So after reading what’s actually in your yogurt that tastes like something it’s not, I want to share with you the good news – you can still eat your yogurt, get all of the benefits for your gut flora and consume a lot less sugar with no artificial ingredients. All you have to do is choose the right yogurt and most importantly, always read the ingredients!
First off, the probiotics in some yogurts balance the micro flora of your gut which can you keep you regular and maintain a balanced digestion system. Now, you’re not going to get the benefit of yogurt bacteria in those popular “low fat, low carb, lose 10 lbs. immediately by eating 15 grams of added sugar” yogurt. What I recommend is purchasing plain yogurt, either regular or Greek style, and then sweetening it with some honey or your own fruit. You’ll save on the calories and know exactly what is in your yogurt so you’re not wondering why you waistline won’t go down or why you’re experiencing migraines everyday even though you’re eating what the marketing companies have touted as “healthy yogurt.”
Here are some of my favorite brands:
Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt – Stonyfield is a home run for those looking to purchase organic. They pride themselves on being “obsessively organic” and offering consumers tasty, wholesome and nutritious food. This is a mainstay in my refrigerator.
Siggi’s Icelandic Style Skyr Plain Yogurt – This has become another favorite. Skyr, pronounced “sk-eer” is the traditional yogurt of Iceland that has been made for over 1,000 years. It’s rich and creamy with a high protein count; actually it’s the highest ratio of protein to sugar of other flavored yogurts. In the plain yogurt, there’s only 4 grams of sugar (all naturally occurring) and if you want to try their other flavors such as orange and ginger (one of my favorites) there’s only 9 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein and 100 calories. On top of that, the milk is made from grass fed cows in upstate New York without the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), they use no aspartame, sucralose, gelatin, artificial colorings, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and they’re certified gluten-free. In one two words: deliciously healthy.
Fage Greek Yogurt – Simple and delicious. Fage is one of my favorite Greek yogurts; one serving has 7 grams of sugar and is all naturally occurring. No added sugars here! All you get is milk and live active yogurt cultures.
Noosa Finest Yoghurt – This rich and creamy Aussi style yoghurt that is made in Colorado was a surprise home run for me. It’s definitely a treat with 11.5 grams of sugars in a serving of the honey noosa, but it’s flavored with honey and organic cane sugar. Basically what you would be adding to your yoghurt at home.
In honor of my rant on yogurt, I’m giving away a Siggi’s gift package of gift certificates, coupons, and a free 40-minute health consultation to the first five people who comment below.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on yogurt!