Health and FitnessNutrition

Nutrition and health benefits of yogurt

If you are a healthy eater, you probably have yogurt in your refrigerator. Dairy foods provide nutritional benefits especially for people who are trying to lose weight or improve their health. But some brands of yogurt can be high in sugar, fat, and calories, depending on the type of yogurt you buy. Compare the nutrition and calories in yogurt to choose the right product for your diet.

Nutrition and health benefits of yogurt

Yogurt calories and nutrition

Whole Milk Yog urt Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1 cup (8 fl oz) (245 g) Per Serving% Daily Value * Calories 149 Calories from Fat 72 Total Fat 8g 12% Saturated Fat 5.1g 26% Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g Monounsaturated Fat 2.2 g Cholesterol 32mg11% Sodium 113mg5% Potassium 379.75mg11% Carbohydrates 11.4g4% Patented Fiber 0g0% Sugars 11.4g Protein 8.5g Vitamin A 5% – Vitamin C 2% Calcium 30% – Iron 1% * Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Plain yogurt is simply yogurt that does not contain any processed fruit or added flavorings. Many people use plain yogurt in recipes or as a substitute for sour cream in sauces and gravies. Plain yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and is high in phosphorus and riboflavin. But it also provides more sugar and saturated fat than most people would expect to find in a “healthy” food.

Yogurt Calories by Brand

If you are watching your waistline, you can choose low-fat yogurt as a snack or meal.

Here’s how some of the popular plain yogurt brands stack up per serving.

  • Fage Plain Low Fat Yogurt: 90 calories, 5 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams protein, 5 grams sugar
  • Yoplait Plain Nonfat Yogurt : 130 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of protein, 13 grams of sugar
  • Siggi’s Plain Fat Free Yogurt: 130 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of protein, 7 grams of sugar
  • Dannon Plain Fat Free Yogurt: 120 calories, 18 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams protein, 15 grams sugar

Health benefits of yogurt

Protein-containing foods promote “satiety” or fullness. So if you eat yogurt for breakfast or lunch, you may not be as likely to have hunger cravings shortly after your meal. The protein in traditional or Greek yogurt can also help your body build and maintain muscle.

Yogurt is also a good way to increase your calcium intake, especially if you don’t drink milk. The wide range of flavors available makes it easy for even the most discriminating diner to find a flavor they like.

Lastly, consumers often purchase yogurt in single-serving cups, which makes it easy to eat the correct serving size. For that reason, yogurt cups are popular with people trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

Is plain or flavored yogurt healthier?

When consumers choose yogurt to eat as a snack or with a meal, they often choose flavored yogurt because it tastes sweeter. But it is also higher in sugar and can be higher in calories. A single 150-gram serving of Dannon Strawberry yogurt, for example, provides 15 grams of sugar and 140 calories (about the same number of calories as the much larger serving of plain yogurt listed on the label).

A single serving of Yoplait Original Strawberry yogurt contains 150 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar.

Greek yogurt vs. Traditional yogurt

Greek yogurt is another popular choice for healthy eaters. Greek yogurt is thicker and less sweet than traditional yogurt. The product is strained to remove much of the sugar, lactose, and liquid whey. As a result, some brands of Greek yogurt have less sugar and more protein than traditional versions of yogurt.

So how does the nutrition of Greek yogurt compare to traditional yogurt? The calories in Greek yogurt are usually about the same. Fage Total 2% Plain Yogurt provides 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 20 grams of protein.

It also provides eight grams of sugar.

Is frozen yogurt healthy?

And what about frozen yogurt? In terms of nutrition, frozen yogurt is typically not the same as the yogurt found in the dairy aisle. Frozen yogurt often contains more sugar and less protein than the type of yogurt that is kept in the refrigerator.

Does all yogurt have probiotics?

Although more research is needed on the role of probiotics in health, some yogurt brands like Activia advertise probiotics in their products. Not all yogurt has probiotics, so if you are looking to get probiotics from yogurt, be sure to read the nutrition label and ingredient list to make sure it contains “live active cultures.” And remember, there are multiple strains of bacteria that can be added, so not all brands will have the same type.

Choosing and storing yogurt

If you are purchasing yogurt to include in your healthy diet, always remember to check the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list. Some yogurt products contain only a few ingredients like milk and fruit, but others can contain a lot of sugar, corn syrup, and other ingredients like cornstarch or gelatin that you might not want.

And if you are comparing the number of calories in yogurt, make sure the containers you are evaluating are the same size. Some yogurt products are lower in calories simply because the package is smaller.

When storing yogurt at home, keep it refrigerated and tightly closed. Yogurt can be frozen, but it can separate and have a different texture when thawed.

Healthy ways to include yogurt in your diet

Yogurt is a great snack on its own. But you can also add ingredients to make it a meal. Try any of these ideas.

  • Use a yogurt-based dressing as a dip for crisp, flavorful vegetables like broccoli, carrots, jicama, or celery.
  • Top yogurt with fruits like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or cantaloupe to satisfy your sweet tooth.


  • Sprinkle the yogurt with nuts like almonds or walnuts, or with seeds like flax seeds for a crunchier flavor


  • Drizzle plain yogurt with honey for a blast of sweetness
  • Season with cinnamon, vanilla, or your favorite extract for flavor without adding calories
  • Make a rich, creamy dessert by mixing dark chocolate or cocoa chips into vanilla, coconut, or coffee flavored yogurt.
  • Add yogurt to your blender when making a healthy smoothie for a creamier consistency.
  • Make a layered yogurt parfait of oatmeal, fruit yogurt, and vanilla

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