Tips for Choosing the Best Yogurt for Your Health

By Catherine Newman
Some basic principles about yogurt – its benefits, pitfalls, types, and traps
When I was a child, way back in the Pleistocene era of the 1970s, there was one mark of yogurt, Dannon, and it came in a waxed-cardboard container, and you knew it was healthy because there were million-year-old Slavic people in the commercial for it, the point being that if you ate yogurt you would live constantly. If you liked yogurt, you bought Dannon ; if you didn ’ t like yogurt, you didn ’ metric ton buy it .
Those were the days ! Because now the yogurt aisle is fourteen miles long and more thwart than a give voice problem about colliding trains. Plus, yogurt is extra-tricky, since it still shines with that semblance of allege good health – tied if it ’ s flavored with cotton sugarcoat and contains arsenic much carbohydrate as your average service of Laffy Taffy. In early words, you ’ ve got to watch out for the wolf in yogurt ’ mho clothing. And if you are managing diabetes – or otherwise limiting your consumption of boodle and carbs – then the stakes are even higher, and the yogurt aisle can feel like even more of a health landmine.

But yogurt, when it ’ south thoroughly yogurt, is good for you. And eating yogurt is linked with a lower risk of fleshiness, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes ; a 2014 Harvard School of Public Health analysis actually found that eat ( knit ) yogurt every sidereal day was associated with a reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes by a meaning 18 % .
We set out to clarify some basic principles about yogurt – its benefits, pitfalls, types, and traps. After arming yourself with this information, we encourage you to go to the shop and take a look for yourself !
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What is yogurt?

yogurt is made from milk that ’ s been fermented. And thanks to zymosis, yogurt besides contains probiotics, which are bacteria that might play a function in keeping your gut goodly, basically by crowding out early, less healthy, microorganisms. Some yogurts may claim extra-special probiotic status, but reasonably much any yogurt from a refrigerated dairy case is going to contain “ live and active cultures, ” i, bacteria. Please note that “ yogurt ” in the shape of a candy application ( yogurt-covered pretzels, I ’ thousand looking at you ) is not yogurt and, alas, not healthy .
According to Alice H. Lichtenstein, executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, “ Given the most big yogurt choices on the market today, the first criterion should be the total of lend carbohydrate. The best choice is to choose plain, unflavored yogurt and customize it to your personal preferences by adding fresh, freeze, or dried yield and/or flavorings such as vanilla and cinnamon. ”

Regular or Greek?

Regular yogurt is made from milk that gets tart and midst, thanks to the add cultures. greek yogurt is regular yogurt that ’ sulfur been strained so that it gets even thick. This thickening actually works to accomplish two things, nutrition-wise : it concentrates the protein which makes it more satisfy and reduces the naturally occurring carbohydrate ( lactose ), much of which drains out with the whey ( the liquid left after straining ). One 5.3-ounce serve of greek yogurt can offer arsenic much as 20 grams of protein ( deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as a quarter of your daily calcium needs ), making it a meet, energy-boosting, and about instant meal. ( icelandic yogurt, besides called Skyr, is besides strained, and like to Greek yogurt, nutrient-wise. )

The takeaway:

  • Choose Greek Yogurt (or Icelandic Skyr)
  • Look for 12 or more grams of protein per 5.3-ounce (150 grams) serving to help keep you satisfied

Nonfat, low-fat, or whole-milk?

Although researchers are not precisely certain why this is true – and although we ’ ve been led to believe the opposite for decades – whole-milk products, including yogurt, may actually be better for you than their lower-fat or nonfat counterparts .
Although higher in calories, whole-milk yogurt tends to be more meet and lower in natural boodle and added carbs ( like thickeners ) than lower-fat yogurt. And if all that doesn ’ triiodothyronine convert you ? Higher-fat yogurt is merely richer and more delicious, which means that you ’ ll be more likely to eat it plain or with equally little add bait as possible .
The takeaway:

  • Choose Whole-Milk Yogurt (or 2%).
  • Look for 2 or more grams of fat per 5.3-ounce (150 grams) serving.

Plain or flavored?

If you already like complain, unsweetened yogurt, then read no foster ! You ’ re all jell. Buy it, eat it, love yourself. Because while unsweetened yogurt is a fantastic, nutrient-dense food, sweetened yogurt offers diminishing returns. sure, it ’ randomness healthier than sodium carbonate – after all, it ’ randomness still got protein and calcium – but the total sugar is going to dramatically jack up the carbs and bring havoc on your blood glucose levels. If you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate eat your yogurt plain, then look very cautiously at the tag so that you can be certain you ’ re choosing a yogurt with less than 20 grams of total carbs – and ideally that total will be closer to 15 or even 10. ( For reference : obviously, whole-milk greek yogurt contains 5 to 9 grams of naturally occurring carbs from the milk itself. ) Thanks to Nordic tastes, Icelandic Skyr, even in its season incarnations, tends to have less added sugar than its american or greek counterparts .
Some yogurts are sweetened artificially ( with aspartame, acesulfame potassium, or sucralose ) or with naturally-derived stevia. I ’ m not a huge sports fan of artificial sweeteners, but they may be better than real sugar.

The takeaway:

  • Choose Plain Yogurt (or choose sweetened or flavored yogurt very carefully).
  • Look for 20 or fewer grams of carbohydrates per 5.3-ounce serving (150 grams).
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners (and flavors and colors, while you’re at it) if you can.

Beware any yogurt – particularly kids ’ yogurt – in 2-ounce tubes or 4-ounce tubs, which might seem to offer a fair total of sugar until you recalibrate the serve size .
For example, converted to 5.3 ounces, a distinctive yogurt pipe would have 30 grams of carbs and merely 6 grams of protein. Yikes !

What else might you see on a yogurt label?

  • Thickeners, which might include pectin, gelatin, agar, guar gum, and corn or tapioca starch. These are not inherently bad or harmful, but may impact blood glucose and indicate that a product lacks natural richness.
  • Artificial flavors or colors: avoid these.
  • An indication that the milk is non-GMO, organic, or from cows not treated with rBGH (a growth hormone). These are all good and potentially more expensive things, and you can pay attention to them if your budget allows.
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Category : Healthy