Yoghurt is a fantastic snack – it’s a good source of calcium, protein and the probiotics can help with your gut health. It’s so versatile you can use it for breakfast or add it to a smoothie.
There are so many brands and varieties to choose from in the supermarket aisle it can be tricky to know which ones are better. When it comes to choosing which products to buy, there are so many aspects to consider: sugar, fat, protein and calcium content, GI and taste. Some products make health claims such as ‘low fat and high protein’… but how do they all compare nutritionally?
Fat vs. Sugar Debate
There have been a lot of concerns raised about low fat or no fat yoghurts having far more sugar than their full fat alternatives. In the process of making the product ‘healthier’, manufacturers often replace fat with sugar to compensate for taste. Some yoghurts have so much added sugar they should be considered a dessert!
Ideally, you should choose a product with low fat and low sugar content. Even better, choose products with fewer ingredients i.e. minimal additives such as flavours or preservatives. As a general rule of thumb, if you see ‘sugar’ appearing in the top 3 ingredients on the ingredients list, then avoid this product. Sugar can also be labelled as honey, fructose, syrups, glucose or fruit juice concentrate on the ingredients list. It is important to note that dairy-based yoghurts will still contain some sugar from a naturally occurring sugar called ‘lactose’ – you don’t need to be concerned about it unless you are lactose intolerant.
Greek vs. Natural Yoghurt
Greek yoghurts tend to be higher in protein as a result of the straining process which removes excess whey, resulting in a thicker, creamier product. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer so yoghurts with a higher protein content is more favourable. However, it is important to note that some greek yoghurts can have higher amounts of energy and fat, so make sure you read the nutrition information panel before buying.
Reading the Nutrition Information Panel
The best way to choose the healthiest product is to do some detective work and read the nutrition information panel. Here’s a guide to helping you choose the right product:
|Energy||Less than 350kJ|
|Protein||More than 5g|
|Fat||Less than 2g|
|Sugar||Less than 6g or
Less than 15g if flavoured
|Calcium||More than 150mg|
My top 5 yoghurt recommendations
*In no particular order of preference*
- Tamar Valley No-Fat Natural Yoghurt
- Chobani Greek Plain 0% Yoghurt
- YoPRO (all flavours are low-fat and low-sugar)
- Yoplait For Me (all flavours are low-fat and low-sugar)
- Jalna Fat-Free Natural Yoghurt
- Choose low fat (<2% fat) or no fat products with less than 6g sugar (unflavoured) or less than 15g sugar (flavoured) per 100g
- Plain natural or greek style yoghurts are ideal
- Less is more – choose products with fewer ingredients
- Flavour it youself – add your own fruit or sprinkle of muesli to plain yoghurt
Stayed tuned for my kids yoghurt review next week – that’s a whole other minefield for parents!