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What’s Really in Your Yogurt?

Take a closer look at what is in your yogurt.

by Ian Lee

The yogurt section of most grocery stores is much larger than it was a few years ago, with General Mills alone launching 40 new yogurt products in 2012. With so much choice and so many new varieties, it can be hard for consumers to know what they're really buying and which options are the best for their own taste preferences and dietary needs.

HealthCastle.com has announced an update reviewing 85+ yogurt products and expansion of the yogurt category on their Go UnDiet – Packaged Food Review tool, plus five key findings about the yogurt products currently available in stores.

"Our detailed comparison found that yogurt products vary widely in terms of number of ingredients, use of sugar and sweeteners, serving size, and additives," said dietitian Gloria Tsang, RD, founder of HealthCastle.com.

Findings from the yogurt comparison performed by the Registered Dietitians at HealthCastle.com:

  • Smaller portion sizes may mean less calcium content: Most yogurt products require a 6-oz serving to meet the 20 percent DV required to qualify as a good source of calcium. But many products now come in 3.5- or 4-oz servings – and even smaller if they're targeted at kids.
  • Not all "Greek" yogurt is really Greek yogurt: Real Greek yogurt is made from nothing but milk, cream and bacterial cultures – and because of how it's made it should be naturally higher in protein. But some "Greek-style" yogurts imitate the thick Greek yogurt texture by adding gelatin, pectin or carageenan, while other imitate the high protein content by adding protein concentrate made from milk or whey.
  • Sugar is called by many names: Fructose, evaporated cane juice, honey, and maple syrup all mean sugar – and some yogurt brands contain as much sugar per serving as a can of soda.
  • Light/Fat-free products use artificial sweeteners: Most brands use sucralose, but some use two or even three different artificial sweeteners.
  • Unexpected ingredients in baby and kids' yogurt: Yogurt for babies should be plain unflavored whole milk yogurt. Some brands offer this option, but they (and others) also offer flavored versions with two teaspoons of sugar per serving. Shockingly, many kids' fruit-flavored yogurts have no real fruit!

The Go UnDiet – Packaged Food Review tool allows users to perform side-by-side comparisons of different yogurt brands and filter out specific products like Greek, organic, or gelatin-free yogurt.

Each product also has an "RD's take" summary to help interpret the nutrition facts. For those who want to skip the analysis, the tool allows users to simply sort products by the amount of fat, calories, calcium, sugar, fiber, carbs and more.

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