Many people consume yoghurt as a part of their regular diet for an easy, convenient part of their meals. Although yoghurt can be a healthy choice, with the huge range of brands and flavours available, it can be hard to identify what the best options are.
Yoghurt is popular because many varieties meet the label reading criteria of <10g sugar and <10g fat per 100g. However, with the large amounts of varieties that meet these criteria, how do you determine which one is the ‘healthier’ choice?
Firstly, it is important to recognise that yoghurt is a “second level” protein. This means like all dairy products, we use it as a good source of protein for our meals. Protein helps keeps us fuller for longer and works to keep our blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. It also plays a pivotal role in maintaining our muscle mass and keeping our hair and nails healthy. It addition to protein, yoghurt alongside other dairy products contain important nutrients such as zinc, which is vital for good immunity and wound healing.
Recently we have noticed more companies marketing their yogurt to be higher in protein, and in some cases “2x protein” than normal yoghurt. These yoghurts, including the flavoured varieties (i.e. Yoplait Greek Style x2 protein – Black Doris Plum, Coconut and Honey) meet our label reading criteria. But when you take a closer look the nutritional information, despite being <10g per 100g for sugar, they contain more sugar than protein. So although we may think we are picking the best option per 100g in term of protein content, this is displaced due to the higher sugar content.
However, if you stick to the regular unsweetened varieties the sugar content is well under the <10g/100g, and the protein content generally exceeds the sugar content.
> Good yoghurt options include: Plain unsweetened (Natural Acidophilus – Unsweetened yoghurt, De Winkle Plain unsweetened yoghurt) and Natural Greek (Yoplait Greek style 2x Protein –natural, Anchor Greek Style yoghurt – natural, Fresh n Fruity Greek style yoghurt lite)
If you are wishing to sweeten your yoghurt, instead of buying sweetened varieties you can:
> Add a flavoured protein powder to the yoghurt
> Add some whole fruits such as berries, or a little sliced banana and cinnamon. This way you get the added benefit of fibre and nutrients from the fruit minus the added sugar.
So next time you are at the supermarket, make sure you are not being mislead by the clever marketing. Remember they are trying to convince you to buy their product! Always look for plain unsweetened yoghurt varieties and ensure the protein content exceeds the sugar content.