Is yogurt good for you? That question probably brought you here. Let's answer it with some explanation so you will know the answer and the reasons behind it. The answer to this question unfortunately isn't as straightforward as “yes” or “no”, it all depends on the particular yogurt you want to buy. Because of that the properly stated question you should have asked is “which yogurt is good for me?”. So, let's dive into the different kinds of yogurts to find the ones that are really good for you.Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pietro58/
If you were wondering whether Greek yogurt is definitely better for your health than regular yogurt then you should know, that in most cases that statement is true. Nevertheless both yogurt types can be very beneficial for your health. If you are interested in differences between those yogurt types you should read my article concerning mentioned issue. You might also be interested in health benefits of Greek yogurt.
Plain yogurt vs. flavored yogurt
Here's the field where differences are huge so pay attention. Most of the people think that all yogurts are created equal so it's no big difference between flavored and plain one. Most flavored yogurts taste great because they are meant to be that way. Flavor is theirs best attractor. Unfortunately it's also one of the very few benefits of flavored yogurts (take note that great taste isn't a health benefit!). Those yogurts are seasoned with various spices to give them the best taste possible. Because of that flavored yogurts contain a lot of additional sugar, which as you probably know isn't welcome (in large quantities) in your diet. People who are buying flavored yogurts in most cases don't attach any importance to nutrition values and the product ingredients. Because of that those yogurts tend to have poorer nutrition values than average ones (less proteins, more fat). The bottom line is: if you are looking for yogurts that are really good for you, resign from flavored ones.
Fortunately enough, resigning from flavored yogurts doesn't mean you will end up eating yogurts which taste is every time the same. If you are looking for some diversity in taste add some fresh fruit, almonds, peanuts or even a little honey to your yogurt. Whichever ingredient you will choose the meal will be healthier (assuming you will add only a moderate amount of the ingredient) then factory flavored yogurt.
“Contains live and active cultures”
You have probably seen a lot of different commercials about “good bacteria”, “probiotics” etc. included in yogurts and whatever effect they do have on your health. Take note that all benefits named in those commercials are rather nonspecific. Many companies producing yogurts are running trials to prove that the good bacteria in their product is providing one's health with some specific benefits. Most of the trials can't provide any significant data to prove that those particular bacteria are definitely the provider of some significant benefit. Therefore commercials inform in broad terms about the implications of consuming the product. Sometimes even the same term given in two different commercials means something very different. Because of the variety of different benefits I'll give you a simple solution. Look only for yogurts labeled “Contains live and active cultures” or similarly. This is a guarantee that the product contains the good bacteria and that's exactly what you need. If the product doesn't contain that label it has been probably heat-processed which destroyed the beneficial bacteria (typical situation for frozen yogurts).
Here's the last but not least important tip. It's probably more significant than all mentioned above. If the product you're holding in your hands meets the terms given above there's still one thing you need to check before buying. Those things are “Nutrition values” described on the wrapper. If the nutrition values aren't good, the product probably won't be very beneficial for your health. You should look for a fat-free or low-fat yogurts, with rather low carbohydrates amount and without any chemical additives. Specific values for both Greek and regular yogurt can be found in my article “Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt - Differences in Nutrition”.
As you can see there are a few key factors which decide whether or not a particular yogurt is good for you. Knowing them will help you with buying the best possible products available. So if you want to buy that new cool yogurt you have seen in the commercial check the wrapper first, so you can determine if it is really a product that meets your needs.