Not only is yogurt an iconic breakfast food, but it also can be a great source of protein, calcium, potassium and other nutrients — if you pick the right kind, that is. Between all the different varieties on the market today, how could you possibly know which yogurts to add to your cart and which to avoid?
Many yogurts today contain extra ingredients, like crumbled cookies, sugary fruit on the bottom and flavors. Some varieties contain up to 20 to 25 grams of sugar per 5 ounces, and although some are sweetened naturally, many use added sugar. These should be eaten in moderation because they’re on par with your favorite candies, not health foods.
If sugar is in the top four ingredients on the nutrition panel, consider choosing a yogurt with less sugar. Or, buy plain, unflavored yogurt, and then add your own fruits and flavorings, such as peanut butter, cinnamon, honey or strawberries — even though those technically aren’t even real berries.
Look for yogurts high in protein — 5 grams of protein or more per serving — which will make you feel fuller for longer. Greek yogurt tends to have double the protein, half the sodium and half the carbohydrates (look for 20 or less) than non-Greek yogurts, the exception being Icelandic-style yogurt, also called “skyr,” which has similar benefits to Greek yogurt.
Don’t worry about probiotics because according to the FDA, all yogurts are required to have them. Some do contain more than others, but you should consult with your doctor to find out whether that’s something you should look into further. While yogurt can be healthy, sugary yogurt is just one of many so-called “healthy” foods you should avoid.