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Yogurt Nutrition Facts

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Mixing plain low fat or non-fat yogurt with fresh fruit is your best bet. In a typical yogurt aisle in your grocery store, plain yogurt is set aside by a panoply of trays, tubs and tubes in which sugar, granola and even candy have replaced some of the yogurt. The result: sugar and calories are up, nutrients are down.

Yogurt Nutrition Facts

Six Trends in the Yogurt Aisle

Spoon-Free Yogurt

The tubes of yogurt are easier for people who want to grab a yogurt as they run out the door. Along with convenience, spoon-free yogurts are also suitable for freezing. Keep in mind, however, the three spoon-free yogurts on the market today are far from perfect. Stonyfield Farms YoSqueeze meets the best criteria but replaces the fruit with fruit flavors. Yoplait's Expresse and Go-Gurt have excess saturated fat and calories. Expresse, however, need not be off your shopping list. Unlike the other two kid-centered lines, it contains real fruit and comes in grown-up flavors such as "mixed berry" instead of "cool cotton candy". If you eat one or two of the tubes, the saturated fat will not matter too much. Just do not go back for more! In addition, do not assume the fruit on the package is the fruit in the tube. The mixed berry, for example, has blueberries, blackberries and raspberries outside but only raspberries inside.

Drinkable Yogurt

Dannon Drinkable YogurtDannon's new Frusion Fruit n' Yogurt Smoothies are essentially the classic Dannon Fruit on the bottom yogurts with added water and fruit juice. The liquids dilute the calcium but you still get a quarter of a day's worth plus vitamins B2, B-6 and B-12. Beware: With Frusion Fruit n' Yogurt Smoothies you also get the red dye carmine, which is made from the dried bodies of cochineal insects and which has caused sever allergic reactions in a small number of people. Carmine is contained in many other spoon-able and "spoon-free" yogurts. If you live on the East Coast, Natural by Nature Low fat Yogurt Shake is another possibility. It is organic and free of carmine.

Yogurt Plus Toppings

A few years ago, Dannon started adding sprinkles to some of its yogurts marketed to kids. No doubt, millions of parents were thrilled to have Sprinkl'ins -- yet another healthy food heading down the path to the junk category. One adult brand, YoCrunch, has gotten into the yogurt-as-ice-cream act. The flavors with Nestle Candy Pieces, Chocolate Crunch, or Oreos, supply extra calories and saturated fat at the expense of protein, calcium and vitamins. A strawberry YoCrunch with Nestle Crunch has 240 calories, for example. The same amount of low-fat fruit yogurt has 160 to 180.

Full Fat Yogurt

In the United States, we have a market dominated by low-fat yogurt. It is no surprise that Dannon would take a stab at marketing the full-fat version to Americans. The elegantly packaged la Creme is indeed incredibly creamy. However, the touch of cream means three grams of saturated fat -- 15 percent of a one-day requirement -- in a four-ounce serving. Again, you are trading nutrients for calories. The eight-ounce cup of Brown Cow Farm Cream at the Top Whole Milk Yogurt uses up 20 percent of the one-day amount of saturated fat. Overall, it is not worth it.

Soy Yogurt

Soy Yogurt Whether your aim is to avoid milk or to eat more soy, you can now find "cultured soy" tucked in among the milk products in the yogurt aisle.

Soy does have some advantages. It has virtually no saturated fat, it may help lower cholesterol levels, and some brands -- like Silk and Whole Soy -- are made from organic soybeans. For many people, the taste takes some getting used to. In addition, it is a good idea to note that soy does not have as much calcium, magnesium, protein or B-vitamins as milk. Silk and Stonyfield Farm fortify their brands with calcium.

Lower Calorie Yogurt

Dannon recently cut the calories in its Fruit on the Bottom line. Most flavors have 210 calories, down from the earlier 240. But for serious calorie-counters, all major brands now have "light" lines that use the artificial sweetener aspartame instead of sugar. That slices the calories by one-third. The problem with diet or light yogurts: The calorie savings are modest (unless you are eating two or three yogurts a day). Other than that, you will not find many differences between the regulars and lights. One exception: Dannon Coffee Yogurt has caffeine (about half a cup of coffee's worth in each eight-ounce container). Dannon Light 'n Fit Cappuccino Yogurt uses decaffeinated, as does Stonyfield Farm Cappuccino.

The best and most nutritious choices in yogurt are an 8-ounce yogurt with two grams of saturated fat, 240 calories, and 40 grams of sugar and a quarter of a day's calcium. In addition, they should be free of candy, cookies, sprinkles and artificial sweeteners.

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