How Healthy Is Your Yogurt

May 26, 2014

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food labelThe rumors are true: Yogurt can do wonders for your health. It promotes weight loss, aids in digestion, and is packed with protein and calcium, which makes it an excellent addition to your weight loss plan. But—yes, there is a but—not all yogurts are created equal. With more varieties hitting the supermarket shelves daily, it’s becoming harder to decipher the healthy yogurts from the not-so-healthy yogurts.

Protein: To get a protein boost, opt for Greek yogurt. However, make sure to read the nutrition label because some brands pack a heftier punch than others. The more protein it has per serving, the better. Fage Total 2%, for example, is one of the higher-protein options. A 7-ounce container contains 20 grams of protein, while other brands may contain just 6 to 10 grams of protein, which may not hold you over until your next meal.

Calcium: You can expect to get about 20 percent of your daily recommended calcium from a 6-to 8-ounce container of yogurt, Greek or non-Greek. Pick a yogurt that gives you at least 15 percent of your recommended calcium to reap the most health benefits and keep your bones strong!

Sugar: Watch out for the fruit-flavored varieties. They may taste delicious, but the sweet taste is often artificially flavored, indicating added sugar. Some yogurts have upwards of 28 grams of sugar per serving! To put that in perspective, one can of Coke has 27 grams of sugar. You’re better off opting for plain yogurt and topping it with fresh fruit for a naturally sweet taste. Blueberries, raspberries, and bananas complement plain yogurt well and won’t put you in a sugar coma.

The Best Toppings: Fresh fruit isn’t the only way to spice up plain yogurt. Experiment with a variety of nuts and spices. Cinnamon, almonds, walnuts, and honey are delicious mix-ins that will keep you excited to eat yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Over time, you won’t even miss the sugar-sweetened varieties.

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