Is Your Favorite Yogurt Really Healthy?
News Flash: Healthy Food Imposter Yogurts are Running Rampant in Your Local Grocery Store’s Dairy Case – Film at 11:00!
It’s probably not that big of a news scoop that there are a zillion varieties of yogurt to choose from. But you may be surprised to learn that 4-in-5 brands make misleading label claims. Does your favorite yogurt promise you the world, but fail to deliver because they mix in junk ingredients that can do more harm than good?
Put your favorite yogurt to the test with the eBrandAid Healthy Yogurt Challenge. There are 10 BestBrands Guidelines that separate the really healthy yogurts from the imposters. Then stick around as we name the super 8 BestBrands of yogurt!
eBrandAid Healthy Yogurt Challenge
Before we give you the 411 on how to choose a healthy yogurt, we want to test your eBrandAid knowledge. Below are two brands of yogurt. From the front label they appear almost identical. However, the ingredients list will give you all the clues you need to distinguish the healthy variety from the imposter. Let the games begin.
Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt Fruit on the Bottom Lowfat
6 oz. Blueberry
INGREDIENTS: Cultured Pasteurized Organic Low Fat Milk, Organic Blueberries, Naturally Milled Organic Sugar, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Organic Elderberry Juice Concentrate (For Color). Contains Our Exclusive Blend Of Six Live Active Cultures Including L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei, And L. Rhamnosus
Dannon Yogurt Fruit on the Bottom Lowfat
6 oz. Blueberry
INGREDIENTS: Cultured grade A lowfat milk, blueberries, sugar, fructose syrup, high fructose corn syrup, contains less than 1% of modified corn starch, pectin, kosher gelatin, sodium phosphate, malic acid, natural flavor, calcium phosphate. Contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus.
Decoding the Fine Print
- The Stonyfield variety is made with all organic ingredients. It contains no junk ingredients and has SIX live active cultures.
- The Dannon variety has one of our least-favorite chemical additives – high fructose corn syrup. It also contains three fillers (modified corn starch, kosher gelatin, and malic acid), and one preservative and one thickener (sodium phosphate and calcium phosphate). It contains three live and active cultures.
You guessed it…StonyField is the big winner.
The moral of our challenge: Don’t judge a yogurt by its label.
eBrandAid Yogurt Guidelines
To ensure that you make the healthiest yogurt choice, quick-scan the front label and then focus on the ingredients list. You’re then ready to put your trust into our 10 eBrandAid Guidelines:
- Look for a short ingredients list.
- Stick with low-fat or nonfat varieties – you save fat and calories without sacrificing taste.
- Make sure the words “Live and Active Cultures” are printed on the container – and the more the better.
- Avoid labels that say “heat treated after culturing” – this kills the active cultures.
- Avoid front labels that say “light” – this is code for calorie-free artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium
- Avoid highly processed sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup.
- Avoid preservatives like sodium citrate, potassium sorbate, and tricalcium phosphate.
- Avoid cheap fillers like modified corn starch and kosher gelatin.
- Avoid artificial colors like Red 40 and Blue 1
- Bonus ingredients that are not must-haves, but are nice-to-haves:
- Inulin – a natural dietary fiber.
- Organic milk – you’ll take in fewer antibiotics and pesticides than non-organic milk.
- Fortified with Vitamin D
Note: Plain yogurt varieties are your best bet. You’ll get more calcium and more protein, and take in less calories than the flavored varieties. However, if sweetened yogurt is preferred, look for varieties that have fruit on the bottom and are made with only all-natural sugar.
Remember, all varieties of the same brand are not created equal! Please make sure you are choosing the recommended variety within each brand!
Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt Plain Nonfat or Lowfat
Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt Fruit on the Bottom Nonfat or Lowfat – All Flavors
Dannon All Natural Yogurt Plain Nonfat or Lowfat
Dannon All Natural Yogurt Blended Style Low Fat – All Flavors
Fage Total Greek Yogurt 0% Fat Free All Natural
Fage Total Greek Yogurt 2% All Natural – All Flavors
Horizon Organic Yogurt Fat Free Plain
Horizon Organic Yogurt Fat Free Fruit on the Bottom – All Flavors
Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.
In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.