Yogurt is the quintessential food for people who want to eat healthfully in a delicious way. Packed with protein, live cultures, and bone health-supporting nutrients like calcium, it is no wonder why so many people turn to this food as a part of their healthy diet.
But not all yogurts are created equal. While there are a wide variety of good-for-you yogurts available to us, there are also some offerings that aren’t the best choice when it comes to supporting our overall health.
So, how can someone navigate the yogurt aisle successfully? According to Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD, registered dietitian and owner of The Hormone Dietitian, people can opt for yogurts that have the least amount of added sugar. “All yogurt has some natural sugar from the lactose [naturally found] in milk. But some yogurts can contain more than a day’s worth of added sugars,” according to Azzaro.
“The yogurt should ideally have less than 5 grams of added sugar per serving and be free from artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame,” explains registered dietitian Melissa Mitri, MS, RD of Melissa Mitri Nutrition. Artificial colors should be avoided as well.
Mitri also suggests people look for at least 10 grams of protein per serving of yogurt to help people feel fuller longer and help meet the daily protein needs.
There are plenty of yogurt choices that check all of the “good choice” boxes. But lurking among the better-for-you options lives some yogurt choices that aren’t made with the most quality ingredients. We asked some dietitians which yogurts are made with the lowest quality ingredients, and we are happy to share the six that topped the list. Read on, and for more, don’t miss The 20 Best Yogurts for Weight Loss, Say Dietitians.
There is no denying that Noosa yogurt is delicious. But according to Azzaro, this yogurt isn’t made with the best choices when it comes to ingredients. “Noosa is extremely high in sugar,” she explained. “With 32 grams of total sugar in the Vanilla Bean Flavor, 19 grams of that from added sugar, as well as 280 calories, you’re getting a similar amount of sugar and calories that you would in vanilla ice cream.”
With the words “light” and “fit” in the title, this yogurt may sound like a healthy choice. But according to Mitri, it isn’t made with the highest quality ingredients.
This yogurt “only contains 5 grams of protein per serving and several artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame. Also since it is fat-free and low in protein, it is not incredibly filling.” She explains that when it comes to yogurt, it’s better to go with a higher fat version since fat is a macro that promotes satiety.
YoCruch is sugary yogurt with candy or other high-sugar toppings included. Azzaro reminds us that, “yogurt that contains candy is not a health food—it’s a dessert.”
Real blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But yogurts that are flavored with blueberry flavoring don’t offer the same benefits.
Azzaro highlights that this blueberry yogurt contains Blue Dye #1 and artificial flavors—two ingredients that hardly qualify as “high quality.”
Unlike many other kid-focused yogurts that lean on natural colors like beet extract and spirulina to give a fun and colorful hue, this yogurt uses artificial colors like Red 40. One serving contains 11 grams of added sugar and only 3 grams of protein—hardly a satisfying snack.
While Greek yogurt is typically a better choice when it comes to yogurt selection, the pie topping isn’t made with the most quality ingredients. Between the soybean oil, the brown sugar, and the cocoa butter, you will be better off choosing a Greek yogurt that is free from the additional crumble of pie for your healthy snack. Chobani has numerous high-quality options from their “less sugar” product offerings to their plain Greek yogurt, which has 14 grams of protein per container.
Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC