Yoghurt is a fantastic snack. It is a good source of protein, probiotics and it is low GI (glycaemic index). Low GI foods keep you fuller for longer!
With the ever increasing range of yoghurts available in the fridge aisle, I am forever being asked which is the best one to choose. The answer is a tricky one as there are many things to consider when choosing a yoghurt…
1. How much sugar is in it?
Yoghurt is made of lactose which is a sugar found in milk. Because lactose is a sugar, it is included in the ‘total sugars’ listed on the nutrition information panel (NIP) of yoghurt. Similarly, many yoghurts have added fruit and the sugars that are naturally occurring in the fruit will also be included in the ‘total sugars’ on the NIP. This makes it very difficult to use the NIP on a yoghurt packet to determine how much sugar has been ADDED to your yoghurt.
Because of this, it is always best to assess the nutritional profile of a yoghurt by reading the ‘Ingredients list’. Ingredients lists always list the ingredients of a product from that which is most in the product to that which is least in the product. As such, as a general rule of thumb, I recommend avoiding yoghurts which have sugar (or another name for sugar) in the top three ingredients on the list (as these make up most of the product). This rule does not apply where a yoghurt may only contain three ingredients, in which case, if sugar is the last of those ingredients, it is still the smallest component of the product.
``I recommend avoiding yoghurts which have sugar (or another name for sugar) in the top three ingredients on the list ``
2. What about probiotics?
By definition, yoghurt is formed by the bacterial fermentation of milk. As such, all yoghurts contain yoghurt cultures which can act as a probiotic to someone who consumes them. Most yoghurts will have a Lactobacillus spp. bacteria in them but some yoghurts have other cultures included too.
There is a lot of discussion these days about our gut microbiome and the benefit of probiotcs for a range of conditions. It’s for this reason that I am a big fan of yoghurts containing a range of probiotic species in the one product.
3. Pot yoghurt or pouch yoghurt?
Yoghurt in pouches have become a convenient addition to the lunch box options, with their ability to act as an ice pack for the rest of the lunchbox if frozen overnight, and a very small risk of making a mess too. Unfortunately, many of the yoghurts in the pouches contain large amounts of added sugar so please be careful when choosing your squeezie yoghurts. Always check ingredients lists again and trying to find a yoghurt where sugar is not in the first three ingredients.