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Food & Drink

How to choose the right yogurt

Learn the different types and make an informed choice that works for you

Remember when shopping for yogurt was as simple as choosing a flavor you like? Now there’s Greek, Icelandic, full-fat, organic, low-sugar and all sorts of combinations to choose from. Here, we’ll share the differences and a few pointers for selecting one that works for you.


Greek yogurt is perhaps the most popular, known for its high amount of protein and thick, rich texture. It’s made by straining extra whey liquid from regular yogurt, which condenses the amount of protein in a serving, as well as lowers the sugar.


Also called skyr, Icelandic yogurt is strained even more than Greek yogurt, giving it an almost cheese-like thickness that holds its shape on a spoon—and yet, it’s still creamy. Traditionally, skyr is made with low-fat milk, but you can find whole-milk varieties as well.


Often sold in a fancy glass jar, French-style yogurt is not prepared like the others. Rather than being made in one big vat and then poured into individual containers, the ingredients are placed in individual glass jars and left to set. This technique is called “pot-set,” and it yields a thinner yet still very smooth texture.


Unlike Greek and Icelandic yogurt, Australian yogurt is not strained. This gives it a slightly looser consistency. However, in order to make sure it’s still creamy, it’s either made with whole milk or cooked slower and longer. This style of yogurt is often sweetened with honey or other flavors that give it a dessert-like quality.

Which Should I Choose?

Of course, that depends on your preferences and health goals, but there are still a few things to consider. The good news is that mostly all yogurts contain the good-for-your-gut probiotics. But if you’re looking for a low-sugar snack, always check the label. Some yogurt contains 25-plus grams of sugar in a single serving. Under 10 grams of sugar is a good start; bonus points for no added sugar.

Dannon recently came out with a Two Good Greek Yogurt line that contains only 2 grams of sugar and doesn’t contain non-nutritive sweeteners aspartame, sucralose or acesulfame K. This is achieved by using a slow-straining process that removes some of the sugar from the milk. Because it’s still high in protein and calcium and low in sugar and sodium, it’s a good choice for anyone with diabetes or high blood pressure.

If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, pair a low-sugar yogurt with something that’s high in fiber, like raspberries or ground flaxseeds. Not only will it be more filling, the extra fiber is what helps remove cholesterol from your blood.

The jury’s still out on whether full-fat or nonfat yogurt is better for your health. Some research shows that full-fat dairy may be more satisfying and lead to less snacking throughout the day. Other research shows a lower risk of central obesity with full-fat dairy. However, full-fat dairy also contains more calories, which should be factored into your daily consumption, especially if your goal is weight loss.

To learn more about how yogurt can help you reach your health goals, join one of the free Hy-Vee dietitian store tours. Call the store and ask for the dietitian for more information at 792-7030.

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