Yoghurt is a great source of calcium, protein and healthy bacteria so it makes a good snack or meal. Have as is or team it up with fruit, oats, muesli or even use as a sauce! But when you go to choose your yoghurt at the supermarket you are often faced with original, low fat, no fat, low fat natural, Greek, diet, no added sugar, soy, lactose-free, organic options…which can leave you confused! Here is the low down on yoghurts to help you decide on the best options for you.
Plain natural unsweetened (the sour stuff)
These are the best options. They are more natural and have no added sugar and flavourings. These come in regular full fat, low fat, no fat, organic, Greek, lactose-free and even in sheep and goat milk varieties. If you can tolerate these, choose these options.
If too sour, try adding chopped/pureed fresh fruit, stevia or a drizzle of honey. Choose low fat or no fat options to reduce your fat intake and lactose-free options if you have lactose intolerance. Most brands make plain natural yoghurt, so you won’t have trouble finding these but my favourite is the Jalna low fat Greek style yoghurt. Chobani plain natural yoghurt is higher in protein than most and can be good for those trying to boost protein intake.
Sugar sweetened flavoured yoghurt (e.g. vanilla, strawberry, mango etc)
These have added sugar to sweeten them and also may have fruit or flavourings to give a sweet and for many ‘more palatable’ yoghurt. These come in regular full fat, low fat, no fat, organic, Greek, lactose-free, soy and even in sheep and goat milk varieties. You will notice ingredients such as sugar, sucrose, cane sugar, fructose, glucose, fruit juice – high up in the ingredient listing which adds to the total sugar, carbohydrate and kilojoule content. These are the most common sweet yoghurt on the market and made by most yoghurt brands.
No added sugar or diet artificially sweetened flavoured yoghurt (e.g. vanilla, strawberry, mango etc)
These have non-calorific artificial sweeteners added to them to give a sweet flavour. Currently these are not natural sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit, but I’m sure it won’t be long before the food industry starts making these. (Please correct me if there are some now available) The artificial sweeteners are added instead of sugar to give that sweet flavour without so much sugar and kilojoules. You will notice ingredients such as aspartame, acesulphame K, sucralose or sweeteners 950, 951 or 955 on the ingredient listing. Not everyone likes consuming these sweeteners including myself (although at the levels contained in these products Food Standards Australia New Zealand indicates it is safe levels). These come in regular full fat, low fat, no fat and Greek varieties. Some brands include Nestle Soleil, Yoplait Forme and Tamar Valley Greek style no added sugar. If you don’t like artificially sweetened products, choose the plain natural yoghurts and sweeten yourself with fruit, a drizzle of honey or more natural sweeteners e.g. stevia.