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How to Select a Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of protein. However, sometimes it comes packaged with a lot of extra sugar and/or fat, thereby lowering its nutritional value.

Here are some tips to help you pick the best yogurt.

Choose a yogurt:

  • With 90-100 calories (or use the 10:1 ratio rule. Read this article if you’re not sure what that means:
  • Sugar is NOT listed in 1st 3 ingredients
  • When recovering from surgery: NO CHUNKS in yogurt

 The label below is Chobani plain nonfat greek yogurt. An 8oz serving provides 23 grams of protein and 140 calories (so it therefore meets the 10:1 ratio rule). Note the 9 grams of sugar.

(Click on picture to make it bigger) chobani plain greek yogurt label


A Note About the Sugar on the Label

The sugar grams listed on the label do not differentiate the naturally occurring sugar from the added sugar. (When new labels come out in a few years, this will not be the case anymore!)

Therefore, even plain, nonfat yogurt such as this one, appear to have a lot of sugar.

The only way to know if sugar is naturally occurring or added, is to read the ingredient list.

This ingredient list reads: Cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, live and active cultures…. There is absolutely NO sugar listed in the ingredient list. This means the 9g of sugar on the label are naturally occurring sugars (from the milk).

On the other hand, take a look at the greek yogurt label below. This is a nonfat fruit flavored greek yogurt. It provides 14 g protein and 140 calories, so it also meets the 10:1 ratio rule. However, look at the sugar grams and the list of ingredients.

(Click on picture to make it bigger) chobani fruit on the bottom

Sugar = 19g. Read through the list of ingredients at the bottom of the label and you’ll see evaporated cane juice, which is another name for sugar.

So while this yogurt provides good protein, it comes with the high cost of lots of added sugar. It could potentially cause dumping syndrome.

Plus, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 24g added sugar/day for women and 36g added sugar/day for men (6-9 teaspoons added sugar, respectively).

Bottom line…Put it back on the shelf.


If you want fruit flavored yogurt, buy plain, nonfat yogurt, then add a little real fruit such as blueberries or raspberries (or applesauce if you’re in soft pureed stage) , in order to get real nutrition (fiber, antioxidants). Sprinkle with a little Splenda or Stevia if needed. Or simply add a tiny bit of sugar free preserves to plain nonfat yogurt.

Bon Apetit!

Still confused? Schedule an appointment with our in house dietitian: 520-319-6000.