Q: How healthy is flavored yogurt?
A: Yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt, is a good source of protein. Because many people don’t like the taste of plain yogurt, manufacturers offer a variety of flavors.
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The trouble is, manufacturers pile on the sugar — big time. Some flavored yogurts have 36 grams! That far exceeds the 25-gram daily limit the American Heart Association has set for women and uses the entire 36 grams it has allotted for men.
That means, if you are choosing a highly sugar-laden option in the morning for breakfast, you’re loading up on sugar for your first meal of the day — which in turn sets the stage for craving sweet for the rest of the day.
Choosing artificially sweetened yogurts won’t help you, either. Animal studies suggest artificial sugars may promote the release of insulin just like sugar does.
Human studies (and basic human nature) tell us that if you use artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute, you essentially keep the need for sweet on your taste buds, which just makes it harder to give up sugar.
The best way to flavor your yogurt is to do it naturally using fresh fruit, vanilla extract and/or cinnamon.
—Wellness dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD