Diet Detours: Comparing yogurts

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Not all yogurt is as healthy as you think. (WPVI)

Yogurt is a great source of calcium and probiotics, but not all yogurts are created equal - and some can detour your diet.

When it comes to yogurt, the biggest culprit of turning a healthy snack into an unhealthy snack is added sugar.

Most yogurt has natural sugar from milk, but anything flavored most likely also has added sugars.

Some of the yogurts have 4 or 5 teaspoons of added sugar to them.

Nutritionist Marda Heuman with Wegmans says with so many brands and flavors to choose from, it is easy to change a healthy option into an unhealthy one.

"It can add to your waistline if you are picking some that have a lot of added sugar," said Marda.

This includes most yogurts with fruit on the bottom.

Marda says, "Almost all of it is going to be added sugar. Some of it is going to come from the fruit and there will be some gums added as thickener."

She says fruit on the bottom yogurt isn't a complete diet detour, but may not be the best option.

To compare, Marda suggests to first look at the sugar on your favorite brands of plain yogurt. Then, look to see how much added sugar is in the flavored version.

A healthier option overall is to: "Add your own fruit," Marda says.

As for Greek yogurt, Marda says "Its major benefit is definitely the protein. There is usually double the amount of protein in a Greek yogurt."

She says most brands can have as much as 15 grams of protein, making it a good afternoon snack to keep hunger at bay.

She gives Greek yogurt a green light.

Soy yogurts are another healthy option especially for those who are lactose intolerant.

As far as almond yogurt goes, Marda says "The disadvantage to an almond yogurt is it doesn't have as much protein in it."

The same goes with coconut yogurt.

Many specialty brands are also popping in the dairy aisle.

Marda says watch out! "This is a treat." Many are loaded with sugar and some even with saturated fat!

"I wouldn't call that a healthy snack," says Marda.

And lastly, Marda says, "If you are really trying to watch your weight, I would go for the light yogurts."

Shes says most light yogurts only have 80 calories and with vitamin d and calcium - it's a healthy option for dieters and diabetics.

Light yogurts are mostly a personal preference because they contain artificial sweeteners.

Overall, Marda says plain organic Greek yogurt is the best bet.

But if you don't like that, a good rule of thumb is to look at and keep track of your added sugars.

For a whole day, it's recommended women eat less than 24 grams, men 36 grams.

So a flavored yogurt could give you about half or more of your added sugars per day.

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