The Healthiest Yoghurt
I wanted to write this blog as I often get asked what is the best yoghurt. To be honest I thought this would be quite straight forward however, it was not until I went into the supermarket and seriously looked at the enormous range of yoghurts did I realise there were so many. I am very programmed to just buying the couple of brands I know and trust that I do not look much at the others especially as shopping with two toddlers you get like nano seconds in this section as one) it is cold and two) ah...two toddlers in a trolley need I say more?
I think I need to do a series of blogs on yoghurts - kids yoghurts, greek yoghuts, coconut yoghuts....you get the picture! But for now I hope the following helps you to get started at least.
Yoghurt is a dairy food and I know this is quite a grey area of nutrition. I have a chapter on this in The Nourished Baby as well as my toddler book (coming August 2018), as it can be confusing even right from the start.
I thought it would help to actually say what yoghurt is first:
Yoghut = a food produced by being fermented by live bacteria.
Typically milk or milk solids (the dried powder left after all the water is evaporated from liquid milk) are used to make yoghurt. Today we are also seeing a range of other yoghurt foods like coconut yoghurt also being made in a similar way but with coconut milk.
Given the huge range of yoghurts out on the market how do you know what the healthiest is? Here are some pointers which will help you and some examples from my supermarket tour.
- Always go for plain unsweetened yoghurt or Greek yoghurt - almost do not look at anything else.
- Yoghurt will naturally have some sugar, - do not choose one that has added sugar or flavour - you just do not need this sugar!
- On that note, worry more about sugar than saturated fat (you need fat! More will be in my book on this).
- Check the ingredients list on the back and choose the ones with the least amount of extra ingredients (other than milk, milk solids, cream and cultures).
- Watch for sneaky slogans (example below with a coconut yoghurt).
- Milk solids will help to preserve the yoghurt and some brands will also have ingredients like pectin (from fruit) or gelatine.
So what is what on the market right now?
I have not included any 'kids yoghurts' here. I need another blog post for this and most (unfortunately) have added sugar.
For example these 'Thomas' and 'Dora' yoghurts have both sugar and fructose added to them. I also have not included many fruit or flavoured yoghurts as again I would not recommend these. For example in a small pottle of Fresh and Fruity Passion-fruit (150g pottle) has 19 grams of sugar - that is nearly 5tsp of sugar (!!!).
|Yoplait Greek 2 x Protein (with coconut)
|Fresh and Fruity Greek
|Coconut Collaborative (Mango)
To help you decipher this table, as a starting point look at the sugar column that will give you simple indicator of what to avoid. There maybe some surprises there. The coconut yoghurts will have more fat in them as they are made from coconut milk. They also contained more stabilisers in the form of corn flour, pectin and xanthan gum. The flavoured coconut yoghurt (mango) while the sugar does not look as high as some it still contained apple juice concentrate, concentrated mango puree, passion-fruit pulp and natural colour.
While I think the Yoplait Greek is a good choice as it just has skim milk, milk solids, cream and live cultures - their '2 x protein' option with coconut actually had sugar added to it - only noticeable from the ingredient list (and hence the higher sugar amount in the table). There is a natural '2 x protein' but it was not on the shelves at the time. The Fresh and Fruity Greek does contain extra thickeners (1422 and 1442) plus halal gelatine - so again Yoplait is better in this regard.
Also interesting was the Straight Up from The Collective which says on the front 'no added cane sugar' but in the ingredients list at the end it has 'pineapple juice concentrate'. Their slogan is "no bull". I am inclined to disagree with this!
On the positive side Biofarm is a clear favourite of mine as it is literally pasterised organic milk and cultures. That is it. Dewinkle is close behind this (and inline with Yoplait Greek) with just skim milk, cream, milk solids and cultures. Naturalea and Gopala are similar though do have halal gelatine included.
Price wise Gopala is the most cost effective at $2.69 ($2.0 on special). While I would not recommend the EasiYo favoured yoghurts due to the very high amount of added sugar (in table) the plain unsweetened or Greek yoghurts can make for a very cost effective option also made from just milk solids and cultures - plus a great activity to help get kids involved with. Biofarm is $6.00 for one liter which is a similar price for a lot of the other yoghurts.
Take home message with yoghurts?
Go plain unsweetened and Greek with the least amount of ingredients as possible and my favourite is Biofarm as it is literally the most simplest ingredients (plus organic).
Happy yoghurt eating,
xx Dr Julie Bhosale