Yogurt Can Be Like Junk Food If You Don’t Choose Carefully

Yogurt is well known for probiotics which can boost your health. If you make yogurt at home, you can be sure of the content and its quality, but the majority of store-bought yogurt can surprisingly be considered junk food because it’s high in sugar and contains other unhealthy additives. That’s why you need to pay attention to the labels and choose carefully which yogurt to buy. Here are 7 things to watch out for that can turn otherwise healthy probiotic yogurt into harmful junk food.

1. Sugar

In order to avoid sugar, stay away from obvious sugar-laden products like yogurt topped with candy toppings or crushed cookies. Yogurt has plenty of naturally-occurring sugar such as lactose. Seeing sugar in the ingredient list is not a reason to avoid the product, as the yogurt may include both lactose and fructose (which is from the fruit). However, if sugar is listed as the first or second ingredient, it’s better to look for another brand.

2. Artificial Flavoring

If a yogurt brand says “strawberry flavored,” chances are it contains artificial flavoring and doesn’t have any real fruit in it at all. If you want fruit-flavored yogurt, check that actual fruit is listed in the ingredients. It should be one of the top ingredients. In fact, buying plain yogurt and adding your own fresh fruit is a healthier idea than fruit-flavored products.

3. Heat-Treated Yogurt Products

To reduce the tartness and increase the shelf life, some companies heat-treat some yogurt products. This kills the microbes in the yogurt and removes the probiotics, which helps boost your immune system. So check the label to ensure that there are “live and active cultures.” If the yogurt is heat-treated after culturing, the label should contain that information. You can also look for the “Live and Active Culture” seal created by the National Yogurt Association, (though not every company chooses to carry this seal).

Featured photo credit: http://lifecdn.dailyburn.com/life/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Peach-Yogurt_PS_2.jpg via lifecdn.dailyburn.com

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