What you need to know about store bought yogurts

For those who desire to consume dairy or non-dairy yogurt sources in whatever form, it’s important to understand how to choose the best form of yogurt. Yogurt can be rich in probiotics, calcium, zinc, and it’s also a good source of protein. Some yogurts are also fortified with vitamin D, which is a huge plus for everyone and especially to those living in colder climates. 

There are numerous yogurt brands available on the market and we know how overwhelming it can get having to choose the most “healthy” one of all of them. A lot of these brands can be misleading with their claims, but we’re here to help you choose the right yogurt for you! 

Here are a few things to look out for when choosing a yogurt at a grocery store:

What’s all that added sugar?

Let’s first establish that all yogurts will contain sugar. The natural sugar that comes from the yogurt itself is called “lactose”, which is a disaccharide (double sugar) that our body breaks down to give us energy. With that being said, watch out for the “added sugar” section on the label. Some yogurt brands put an exorbitant amount of added sugar, which can be really harmful to our bodies; it can cause inflammation within our gut, increase the risk for chronic diseases, and promote tooth decay. This extra sweetness can come from the added fruits or sweeteners the yogurt contains, but there’s no reason for a yogurt to be this high in sugar when it’s claiming to aid in different health benefits. 

Instead of choosing this type of yogurt, we recommend choosing a plain yogurt and adding your own fruits and toppings to it. This is a healthier and a more mindful option to eat yogurt while staying away from all that extra sugar. 

Pick a yogurt with a high protein content

Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. It’s crucial to consume protein on a regular basis in order for various different processes in the body to function properly- such as energy fueling, carrying oxygen throughout the body, building muscle, and many more! Yogurt can be a great source of protein to help you reach your daily recommended amount that you need. 

In addition, picking a high protein yogurt can help you to stay full for longer. This means less snacking and more health benefits! 

Pick a yogurt with a low fat content

Be cautious of the fat content you see on the label when picking a yogurt. Many whole-fat yogurts contain a high amount of saturated fats, which can be harmful to our health. Saturated fats are associated with an elevated level of LDL “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to different cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes. 

For this reason, we recommend you read the nutrition labels carefully and go with a low-fat yogurt option. 

What’s the difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt?

Greek yogurt and regular yogurt essentially differ by how they’re originally made, they also differ in their nutrient content, and they can have different uses in the kitchen.

Greek yogurt is made by the process of straining the whey and other present liquids. It takes a significant amount of added milk to make since the straining process decreases its volume. It’s also a lot thicker in texture than regular yogurt. On the other hand, regular yogurt is made by the process of fermentation. Heat and bacteria are added to milk and it’s left to ferment until it reaches a pH of 4.5. The final texture of the yogurt may vary in thickness depending on what it’s being made for. 

Greek and regular yogurt have very different nutrient contents. The process by which they’re made affects their nutritional values. For example, since Greek yogurt is initially strained from its whey; this reduces its lactose content, which in turn decreases the amount of carbohydrate and sugar present. Greek yogurt is also usually higher in protein and less in overall calories. 

Lastly, these two yogurts have different uses in the kitchen and they’re used differently in recipes. For instance, due to the thickness of Greek yogurt, it’s best to use it when preparing a dip or sauce, such as tzatziki sauce. On the other hand, regular yogurt is best used when you want to have a lighter texture such as in marinades or dressings. 

The bottom line….

For those who consume dairy and yogurt - it is known to have various health benefits in the body. It’s rich in proteins, probiotics, and different minerals that are essential to our health. When buying a yogurt, know to look out for the following: the sugar content, how much protein it contains (the higher the better), as well as the fat content. For those who decide to opt out of dairy or only eat dairy in moderation, Pure Plates does a fantastic job at offering food selections that are high in protein and low in added sugars. After learning about these differences, choose the one that suits you best in terms of its nutrient content as well as what you want to use it for!