When was the last time you walked into the Dairy aisle of the supermarket and counted the number of different types of yogurt? The number has certainly increased within the last few years. The choices are overwhelming, with no fat, low fat, 2 %, light and some companies have yogurt in form of a smoothie.   So what exactly should you buy?

 Here are some yogurt facts to consider:

  1. Yogurt is the most familiar source of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus, which convert pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation.
  2. The World Health Organization defines probiotics as bacteria that your body needs. Your digestive system is full of “good” bacteria, which keeps your digestive tract working efficiently as well as your immune system.
  3. It is the live bacteria in the food you eat that make it full of healthy probiotics. Since heat destroys the bacteria, make sure that your yogurt says live and active cultures on the label. Some yogurts are pasteurized, which kills the bacteria.
  4. Look for the National Yogurt Association (NYA) label, which appears on the containers of the yogurt. It is voluntary, so not all companies will carry the seal on their label.

 How to choose a yogurt that’s best for you:

           1. Decide on the fat content: full fat 7 to 9 grams, low fat (2 to 3 grams) or non-fat

            2. Choose what type of sweetener you want, regular sugar, and artificial sweeteners? Buyers beware; sugar content in yogurt is often high in yogurt containing fruits. Choose plain yogurt and put in fresh fruit to lower the sugar content. Remember when reading a label, 4 grams of sugar is equals 1 teaspoon. Many 6 oz yogurts have as many as 18 grams!

            3. Look for Fiber content, also called prebiotics. Some yogurts contain up to 5 grams. This will help you get the recommended amount of 25-28 grams of fiber

           4. Yogurt should provide at least 6 grams of protein per cup. This helps with satiety

           5. Consider soy yogurts from something new or as a vegan “dairy” alternative.

Try my Black Bean Dip made with plain non-fat yogurt and serve with veggies or home made pita chips. The kids will never know they are getting extra calcium, fiber and protein. It’s a winner.

What’s your favorite yogurt?