the best low sugar yoghurt to buy

Which are the Best Low Sugar Yoghurts to Buy?

So you’re standing in the supermarket, it’s a bit cold because you’re in the fridge section and you want to move towards the warm bakery section ASAP.  Bamboozled by yoghurt choice this post is about to save you some serious chilly time.

Yes we’re talking o’mighty yoghurt, a staple product for any health conscious soul. Yoghurt is a delicious source of protein that is an ideal keep it steady blood sugar snack or breakfast component. Nevertheless, it needs some serious awareness so please read on.

Classic combination eh?

Natural vs. Fruit

For a start, when it comes to sugar content, natural yoghurt comes up trumps over fruit flavoured yoghurts quite easily. Apart from the risk of added colourings and additives to make a strawberry number look baby pink appealing, there’s a marked difference in the range of sugar content:

  • Fruit flavour yoghurt: between 6-14g sugar per 100g
  • Natural yoghurt: between 4-9g sugar per 100g

 

This really looks quite wrong doesn’t it!?

Fruit Yogurts

Whilst natural is preferable, lets say a fruit flavoured yoghurt slips into the trolley… I’ll turn a blind eye with the hope you’ll change this habit eventually as I know I struggled to pull myself off this one.

For a start, don’t be fooled by the low fat label because sugar is essentially metabolised like fat. So if you’re deliberating between the 1% or 2% fat, save time and thinking space by putting your focus on sugar content.

My advice if you really want a low sugar healthy(ish) fruit flavoured yoghurt is aim for 6-7g per 100g or around 8-9g a pot serving. Most of the yoghurts are labelled well so you can compare these amounts but if you can’t be bothered I found Weight Watchers Summer Fruits come in well with 8g a pot.

You also need to consider serving size because individual pots of fruit flavoured yoghurts are larger and often come in 150g portion sizes, but again can also vary. Activia Snack Pots are quite high in sugar at around 16g depending on the flavour. The worst one If found was Onken Vanilla 0% ‘fat free’, which racks up an impressive 21.2g of sugar per 150g portion. This is a whopping 5.3 teaspoons and it’s under the perception that you’re being healthy with 0% fat! Jeez. This is what you need to look out for people. Not to mention with those large tubs, portion control is even harder (just one more spoonful…). Eat a double portion by accident an your up to 44.4g of sugar! Ouch.

Natural Yoghurts

Move onto natural unflavoured yoghurts and you’re on a better track. Fresh fruit to sweeten is always going to be better than unnatural flavours and in fact the skin and fibre of solid fruit takes a little longer to digest so is released slower into your bloodstream. Think a tough Granny Smith skin.

The majority, if not all of the sugars in natural yoghurts are more than likely going to be from the natural lactose as I described in my post about how much sugar there is in milk. Checking the ingredients will confirm this.

The lowest sugar natural variety I’ve discovered in the past few years, and now features in my weekly shop is Total Greek yoghurt at 4g sugar per 100g. Tesco 0% Greek yoghurt also comes in at 4.2g, which is not bad for a supermarket brand. Others start to sneak up where it’s likely these ‘natural’ yoghurts may have added sugar on top of the natural lactose. Some can contain as much as 8.5g per 100g – meaning they’re almost on par with their fruity friends. Unfortunately with yoghurts, you can’t tell  which proportion of sugar is natural and which isn’t – so just check the ingredients which should give a rough indication i.e. is any other sugar listed.

Taken fresh from my fridge

Look for Protein

Another healthy thing to look for in yoghurt is protein content, because this ultimately will keep you feeling fuller for longer and release more steadily into the bloodstream, reducing the insulin spike you might get. Again, Total Greek is top with 10.3g per 100g. Reviewing other varieties for protein, they seem to average around 7-8g, the worst going down to 5g. High protein yoghurt keeps hunger locked up till lunch better than Shreddies I promise!

Low Fat vs. Full Fat

Assuming we’ve sussed the sugar out, what are the guidelines on low fat vs. full fat? This is most likely going to come down to your own personal taste, preference and calorie requirements. You may choose a lower fat because these are lower in calories and you may be watching fat/calories to manage weight etc.

If so, it’s important to take note that a full fat yoghurt is a not a completely evil source of fat in your diet and you may find it may fills you for longer and is more satisfying than a low fat one, thus could mean you eat less calories later.

In my opinion low fat vs. full fat comes down to personal preference, what do you like the taste of? How often are you eating it? Etc.

When I was really hooked on sugar I was following a classic low fat diet in every sense and on many occasions a low fat but full of sugar yoghurt was my ‘healthy’ treat. The 0% seemed to make it justifiable, but I would have been better with a creamer less sweet one to steady the blood sugar and keep my sugar habit from worsening (which it did).

Nope, never tried it on a plate like this but thought I would stick the picture in for ideas

I tend still to go for 0% Total Greek yoghurt, mainly because I do really like the taste, texture and I eat a lot of it, but I’m now not as wary to occasionally trying out a 2% or 10% variety. It also depends on what other foods you are eating; so I get a lot of good fat already from nuts, seeds and oily fish, thus I don’t want to go overboard. If you don’t eat much of these however, then getting some good fat from yoghurt or full fat milk might not be a bad shout (and it’s tasty!).

In summary, the moral of the yoghurt story is keep your eye firmly on sugar, a little on protein and don’t be scared off by fat. I’ll admit, I’ve spent a bit too long in the cold fridge section over the past few years and like the fact I can now whiz in, grab and go without any hassle.

Unfortunately a lot of the yoghurts on the shelves at the moment are not good when it comes to sugar. All we can hope is that if consumers stop buying the sugary ones, then manufacturers will start making an effort to cut sugar and use more natural healthier sweeteners to bring us a wider choice of sugar savvy yoghurts.

Any yoghurt you particularly like or would recommend? Do you eat flavoured yoghurts as a healthy choice? Please share your thoughts or share this article if it’s been useful!

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14 replies
  1. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    hey – had my first total greek yoghurt today. Tasted ok but it is so thick it did not work so well on my cereal!! Turning to natural is a great tip though!

    Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Ah nice one! Yeah I put yoghurt in first and cereal on top! If you mix the yoghurt in the bowl for a while it thins a little ;)

      Reply
  2. Leila
    Leila says:

    Thanks! Actually this is a question I ALWAYS struggle with and end up spending 20 chilly minutes in the freezer section debating between fat and sugar and calories. Great tips, thank you

    Reply
  3. LauraStringer
    LauraStringer says:

    Hi Laura. Have you tried the Easiyo yogurts which you make yourself & can get in Lakeland, holland & Barrett? Despite the claims on the box that they have live cultures, gluten free etc etc,, it’s hard to tell how good they are for you & if they are better than buying a comparable natural yogurt in the supermarket. The list of ingredients seems fairly minimal compared to what you would buy & it doesn’t look like there are any artificial sweeteners involved.

    Reply
    • lauraj_thomas
      lauraj_thomas says:

      LauraStringer Hi Laura, haven’t tried the Easiyo yoghurts no. The natural flavours look OK, just some of the fruity /coconut/honey ones do have some added sugar so maybe stick to the natural.  I would also be wary of the low fat ones and just go for the normal Greek. I will potentially try these out though so thanks for highlighting them to me!

      Reply
  4. Lowsugargirll
    Lowsugargirll says:

    Onken natural set yogurt wins hands down for me with only 3.6 g of sugars per 100g. I also buy Greek yogurt and fromage frais that’s between 3-4 g per 100g.
    I can also recommend using Alpro soya or almond milk to smoothies. I only buy ones that range between 0.2g -2g of sugar per 100ml. I even use the unsweetened ones in tea as they’re so much lower in sugar than normal cows milk.

    Reply
    • lauraj_thomas
      lauraj_thomas says:

      Lowsugargirll Thanks for your insight. Yes anything around 4g sugar per 100g is about the amount of natural lactose sugar in diary products which is a completely different sugar to the fructose that is more dangerous to your health. Hopefully as the low sugar catches on there will be even more to start choosing from!

      Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Hi Rachael,

      Yes it is. It will be a great step to move away from sugary yoghurts and don’t be afraid of a little fat.

      Laura

      Reply

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