Friday, September 30, 2011

Myth: All yogurts are created equal.

plain yogurt with fresh blueberries on top
Answer: BUSTED!

Walking down the yogurt aisle can be confusing and overwhelming. There are so many brands and types of yogurt that it can be frustrating trying to pick the best option for you and your family.

Recently, Greek yogurt has become a popular item in the U.S. even though it has been around since the 1920s. Greek yogurt is yogurt that has been strained to remove whey. Whey is the excess liquid left after milk has been curdled. Removing the whey from yogurt provides a rich and creamy texture.

Benefits of Greek yogurt include more protein, less sodium and less carbohydrate. Less carbohydrate means that there is less lactose which could be easier for people with lactose intolerance to digest. Greek yogurt makes a great substitute in recipes. Substitute it for milk or sour cream for a lower calorie and higher protein dish.

Low-fat yogurt is another common choice and it has lower amounts of fat and more calcium. Calcium is important for many people and most Americans need low-fat sources of calcium in their diet. It is also less expensive than Greek yogurt and there are many brands to choose from.

Both Greek yogurts and regular yogurts have many flavors to choose from. Fruit or vanilla flavoring in both Greek yogurt and regular yogurt add sugar and therefore more calories. One option would be to buy the plain yogurt and add your own fruit to give it flavor. Even the yogurts with added flavor can still be good options. The key is to read the food label and compare calories, fat and sugar content.

When you go to the store be sure to look for two things: price and food labels. Comparing food labels can help you make the best choice for your needs. Calories, fat, sugar, calcium and protein are all important things to look for. Price is another helpful comparison to make. Nutrition and price can vary from brand to brand so always double check!

Additional health and nutrition information can be found at

Contributors: Jenna Silverthorne, Dietetic Intern, KU Med; Denise Schmitz, M.A., R.D., Nutrition & Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 816-482-5854,

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