Updated: Jun 22
Wandering in the yogurt aisle today ...
.. when I turned to a lady beside me and exclaimed:
"omg! They all use skim milk!"
"I am concerned with sugar content."
So here I am inspired to write about what I look for on a yogurt label...
We have to remember that milk is comprised with sugars in the form of lactose. So let's concentrate on the type of sugar. I look for cane sugar and/or fruit puree. I watch out for sweeteners like sucralose and processed sugars like glucose-fructose.
If you are using your yogurt for dips and sauces, check out a plain whole milk yogurt. You can add fruit/honey later if you like.
TYPE OF MILK:
Grass-fed for the win! Grass-fed cows are naturally healthier and live a happier life, they also produce more nutrient-dense milk.
My main goal is to look for a brand that uses wholemilk as the primary ingredient. This means less processing and less secondary ingredients like guar gum and starches to thicken a skim milk to make it creamier. You will notice this is common in low-fat yogurt options. In my opinion it is healthier to choose the whole-food option, whole milk naturally contains more fat and nutrients that can keep you filled up longer, otherwise you will fill the void of a low-fat skim yogurt later with unnecessary snacking!
If you can't find any whole milk options, at least try to find some real cream and the fewest additional fillers.
QUALITY BACTERIA/ HOW PROCESSED IS IT?
I always make sure the ingredient listing says "active bacteria culture", or lists specific strains of bacteria.
Homemade yogurt can have over 45 strains of bacteria (probiotics) from the surrounding environment, talk about an immune system boost!
There is no true way of knowing which tub of yogurt is going to have the best spectrum of bacteria. However, I have found the brands that have the simplest ingredient listings to taste the most like homemade yogurt. I also like to look for brands that are small-batched, sold from jars or are known to be healthier milk brands.
This is not a paid add, however I am all about supporting brands I love, so here are links to some of my favourite yogurt brands, you can see a picture and find them at your local stores:
When I make yogurt at home and need a starter, I like to use a brand from a jar like this.
I have found one of the best ways to gain the probiotic benefit from yogurt it is to have a bowl of it with unpasteurized honey, have you tried?
READ-> Why are probiotics healthy?