How to Buy the Healthiest Yogurt
Greek, Icelandic, French and more! The yogurt aisle is exploding with options. Is your favorite yogurt healthy? Find out what to look for on the nutrition label plus, the benefits and drawbacks of each style.
Pictured recipe: Sweet Beet-Raspberry Yogurt
We love plain yogurt-Greek or regular-it's the perfect base to flavor however you like while giving you control over added sugars (see how the numbers stack up in the chart below). But we get it, flavored yogurts in single-serve cups are mega-convenient. Get our favorite picks and learn what to consider as you navigate the coolers.
Editors' Picks: Our Favorite Yogurts
We put our tastes to the test on more than 30 varieties-these 5 finalists met our nutrition guidelines and had us coming back for more!
Stonyfield Organic Low-Fat, Raspberry
We love the smooth texture of this lightly sweet yogurt that tastes like fresh fruit.
Fage Total 0%, Blueberry
Real bits of fruit stud the jammy blueberry stirred into thick Greek yogurt.
Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt, Alphonso Mango
Just a touch of sugar makes the flavors of this creamy strained yogurt pop.
Oui by Yoplait, Strawberry
This custard-like French yogurt is delicious enough to eat as dessert and the glass pot makes us feel fancy.
Siggi No Added Sugar Peach & Mango
The fruit-packed skyr (Icelandic strained yogurt) is sweetened with just that-fruit.
How to Buy the Healthiest Yogurt
Sleuth Out (Added) Sugars
Even plain cow's milk yogurt will never be sugar-free since it contains lactose, a naturally occurring sugar (about 8 to 10 grams per single-serve container of low-fat yogurt and 5g to 6g for Greek). Flavored yogurts have even more natural sugar from fruit, plus added sugar. To estimate added sugar, compare the total sugars with those in the same serving size of a similar plain yogurt. Aim to keep added sugars under 6g.
Get Smart About Sweeteners
Many "light" yogurts contain sugar substitutes, including natural ones like stevia and monkfruit and artificial ones like aspartame and sucralose to keep calories, carbs and sugars low. As for natural sugar, whether it's maple syrup, honey or plain ol' sugar, your body treats them the same.
Go Big on Protein + Calcium
Yogurt is a good source of both, but amounts vary by type. For the biggest protein punch, choose Greek and Icelandic styles. These are higher because the lower-protein whey is strained out, leaving the high-protein solids behind. The trade-off: Strained yogurts are usually lower in calcium. So if you want more calcium, traditional yogurts are your best bets; you'll easily find brands delivering 20 percent of the recommended daily value.
Research has found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, opting for full-fat dairy does not increase risk of obesity and heart disease. But, if you're calorie conscious, dig in mindfully, since more fat also means more calories.
Related: 4 Good Foods to Eat Full Fat
Yogurt Nutrition: By the Numbers
Pictured recipe: Cucumber Cooler Yogurt
With so many yogurt options, you can find a style to fit any health goal. Here's an averaged snapshot of the different varieties so you can pick the one that's right for you. Numbers will vary by brand.
Greek Nonfat Plain (8 oz.): 135 calories, 23g protein, 25% daily value of calcium
Greek Whole-Milk Plain (8 oz.): 220 calories, 20g protein, 25% daily value of calcium
Traditional Nonfat Plain (8 oz.): 125 calories, 13g protein, 45% daily value of calcium
Traditional Whole-Milk Plain (8 oz.): 140 calories, 8g protein, 30% daily value of calcium
Flavored Low-Fat Single-Serve Cup (5.3 oz.): 150 calories, 6g protein, 20% daily value of calcium