Do you ever find yourself standing in the dairy section of your grocery store wondering what yogurt to buy? The one with all the probiotics? The “high protein” brand? Or the soy/coconut/dairy-free variety? Brands of yogurt have exploded over the years. If you’re confused, you’re not alone!
Let’s break it all down by talking YOGURT: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Good yogurts are full-fat and made from grass fed cows, goats, sheep, buffalo…etc. This ensures the yogurt will have all the healthy fats like Omega 3s and CLA (great for burning fat!) and fat-soluble vitamins like A and D. Good yogurts also have naturally occurring probiotics and enzymes. They DO NOT have additional flavorings or fruit. If you want to add a bit of sweetness, it is best to add your own fruit or a bit of raw honey.
When shopping for GOOD yogurt, LOOK FOR these terms on the label:
- Grass fed/pasture raised
- Full fat
- Little to no sugar (definitely less than 10 grams per serving – this is NOT added sugar but naturally occurring)
- 2-3 ingredients at the most (i.e., milk and cultures); sugar is NOT on the ingredient list
- Ideally in a glass jar
Bad yogurts are those that are “fat free” and “sugar free.” Right away, those labels tell us that they are full of weird chemicals and have been processed beyond recognition. Really, any food that contains artificial sugar is very, very bad. I wrote about the havoc that artificial sugars have on your body in this blog.
Fat free is also a big problem. If something like dairy is fat-free it means it has been overly processed and it will likely have an abundance of sugar (real or fake) to make it taste good. And if you are eating yogurt without the fat, then what are you eating yogurt for?! The fat that comes from grass-fed dairy actually helps you to burn unwanted fat, is good for your brain and makes your skin glow. So don’t sell yourself short by wasting your money on fat-free!!
When avoiding BAD yogurt, WATCH OUT for these terms on the label:
- Flavours or artificial flavors (like strawberry, blueberry, vanilla, etc.)
- Ingredients that include low-fat milk, natural flavor, aspartame, sucralose (or any other artificial sweetener) and weird dyes (coloured with….)
Ugly yogurts (including “Frozen Yogurt”) are pretty much what you would classify as flavored ice cream. In fact, yogurts of this nature are really just a very unhealthy dessert packaged to look like a healthy snack. If it has probiotics it must be healthy, right? WRONG!
These yogurts are loaded with sugar, preservatives, colourings and growth hormones. They often include certain preservatives are known to be chemically engineered to improve taste and texture, but cause digestive issues and other ailments, to say the least.
What really irks me is that so many of these UGLY yogurts are marketed towards kids. You know those ones in the weird plastic tubes? Those are really the UGLIEST of the UGLY!
When avoiding UGLY yogurt, WATCH OUT for these terms on the label:
- Sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, maltodextrin, or other sneaky names for sugar
- Flour (yes, you will see flour in these yogurts)
- Vegetable oils (palm, soybean, etc.)
- Artificial flavors and colours (coloured with….)
- Milk powder
- Anything “from concentrate”
So if you are reaching for a yogurt thinking you’re having a healthy snack or packing one in your kid’s lunch box, be sure to look closely and determine if your yogurt is GOOD, BAD or down-right UGLY. Don’t be fooled by clever marketing, be a label detective and make the right choice for your and your family’s health.