Today I continue my quest to change my eating habits. I initially did this to prepare for IVF, but I am starting to view this process as a lifelong change. Even so, one reason I decided to look at yogurt is because it is recommended by the Harvard Fertility Diet. There are so many benefits of eating yogurt. Yogurt is high in calcium, contains good bacteria that helps manage digestion and control yeast in the body, and can be high in protein. It can be difficult to find the best yogurt among the countless options at the grocery store.
Here is what I am looking for in my yogurt
* No artificial sweetener
* Low in sugar. Plain yogurt does have the lowest sugar and I will use that to make smoothies. However, it is hard for me to eat it without adding a bunch of stuff to it. Later I may try to adapt to plain yogurt by initially adding a lot to it and tapering off. Right now, I will focus on vanilla or strawberry flavored yogurt.
* High in protein
* Minimally processed
* Calories are not my primary concern but I will keep them in check.
* Note I get my images and nutrition information from fooducate.com
To start things off, this is what I used to get.
This yogurt has 80 calories, 12 grams of sugar, 5 grams of sugar, contains aspartame, and is highly processed.
Check out the ingredients: cultured grade a nonfat milk, water, cherries, fructose, modified food starch, contains less than 1% of modified corn starch, kosher gelatin, natural and artificial flavors, aspartame, malic acid, potassium sorbate, acesulfame potassium, sodium citrate, sucralose, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin d3, red 40, caramel color, blue 1, active cultures.
Yikes! It is time to look for other options.
While I have dismissed Greek yogurt as a fad in the past, I decided to make the switch after reading about the multitude of benefits including higher levels of protein. After trying it, I realized I also prefer its creamier constancy to traditional yogurt. Next, I looked at a few popular options.
Calories: 100, Sugar: 7, Protein: 13.
Ingredients: cultured pasteurized grade a nonfat milk, water, sugar, contains 2% or less of: corn starch, natural flavor, lemon juice concentrate, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, vitamin a acetate, vitamin d3.
This brand is highly processed and contains artificial sweeteners.
Calories: 120, Protein: 16, Sugar: 13
Ingredients: cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, evaporated cane juice, natural vanilla flavor, locust bean gum, pectin, live and active cultures.
This could possibly work.
Calories:120, Sugar: 15, Protein: 12
Ingredients: Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk), Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei, Strawberries, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate (For Color).
Calories: 120, Sugar: 18, Protein:12
Ingredients: Cultured Grade A Non Fat Milk, Water, Sugar, Fructose, Modified Corn Starch, Contains Less than 1% of Natural Vanilla Flavor, Malic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (to Maintain Freshness), Sodium Citrate, Vitamin D3.
This brand is highly processed. I’m gonna pass.
Calories: 140, Sugar: 18, Protein: 13
Ingredients: STRAINED YOGURT [ Grade A Pasteurized Skimmed Milk, Live Active Yogurt Cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei)], Cane Sugar, Water, Corn Starch, Pectin,Natural Vanilla Flavor, Ground Vanilla Beans, Lemon Juice Concentrate.
Next up is their strawberry flavor.
Calories: 120, Sugar: 16, Protein: 13
Ingredients: STRAINED YOGURT: Grade A Pasteurized Skimmed Milk, Live Active Yogurt Cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei). STRAWBERRY FRUIT PREPARATION (20%): Strawberries, Cane Sugar, Water, Corn Starch, Contains 2% or less of: Strawberry Juice Concentrate, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum.
Calories: 150, Sugar: 21, Protein: 9
Ingredients: lowfat yogurt (cultured pasteurized grade a nonfat milk, sugar, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, kosher gelatin, modified food starch), strawberries preparation (strawberries, sugar, water, glucose-fructose syrup, pectin, citric acid, locust bean gum, natural and artificial flavor, guar gum, sodium citrate, carmine).
Calories: 110, Sugar: 12, Protein: 15
Ingredients: Cultured pasteurized organic nonfat milk, organic sugar, organic vanilla extract. Live active cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei
This looks good. Let’s look at the strawberry flavored version.
Calories: 120, Sugar: 17, Protein: 12
Ingredients: Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Organic Nonfat Milk), Strawberry Fruit Preparation (Organic Strawberries, Organic Sugar, Organic Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrates [For Color], Organic Guar Gum). Live Active Cultures: S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, Bifidus, and L. casei
I decided to get Stonyfield Organic Greek Vanilla yogurt. The sugar is low, it is minimally processed, it has a decent amount of protein, and lots of good bacteria. It is a little expensive but thankfully, you can create an account on their website and get some good coupons. I also found that it is cheaper at Harris Teeter vs. Whole Foods and Harris Teeter sometimes puts it on sale.
All of this was just my preliminary research. I have said before that I am by no means an expert on nutrition and I do value input. Please feel free to share thoughts on these or any other brands of Greek yogurt. It is difficult to choose among all the options!