Yogurt has its ups (hello, protein!) and downs (some brands are sugar bombs). We simplify the endless options and make our diabetes-friendly recommendations.

Katie Shields, M.S., R.D.

Pictured Recipe: Peach-Blueberry Parfaits

Yogurt is a delicious healthy food. It's a great on-the-go snack, breakfast food or smoothie ingredient, thanks to protein which helps keep you full. But if you're not careful in the yogurt aisle, you could end up buying a yogurt with tons of extra carbs and added sugars. Here we offer shopping guidance and what to look for to pick out healthy yogurt when you have diabetes.

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Get Cultured

Yogurt's trademark tang is due to live cultures (bacteria) that boost immunity. Look for labels with the National Yogurt Association Live & Active Cultures seal, which means at least 100 million active starter cultures per gram.

Pack in protein

Brands with at least 7 grams of protein per 4-6 ounce serving keep hunger at bay. Rule of thumb: Seek options with more protein than sugar.

Go for Greek!

Thick, creamy Greek yogurt gets our vote. Most brands contain 10 grams of protein per 4-6 ounce serving and are lower in lactose.

Don't fear fat.

Whole-milk yogurts are a great source of hugnger-satisfying fat-a formerly feared nutrient that slows digestion. But fat adds flavor naturally, so brands don't have to resort to added sugars. Stick to yogurts with less than 8 grams total to keep saturated fat in check.

Spare the sugar.

Yogurt contains lactose, a naturally occuring sugar, so don't expect to find options with zero grams of sugar. Just avoid added sugars: sucrose, cane sugar, dextrose, and high-fructose corn syrup. The shorted ingredients list the better (ideally milk and bacterial cultures listed first).

Mind your mix-ins.

Add your own flair to plain yogurt to limit sugar. Try 1/4 cup fresh berries, a serving of high-fiber bran cereal, 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts, and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Know your numbers.

Choose yogurts with no more than 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 120 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carb, and 20 grams of sugar per serving. Pick yogurts with at least 7 grams of protein.

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