The #1 Best Yogurt to Eat, According to a Dietitian
Yogurt is a beloved, healthy food that many people enjoy at breakfast, lunch, or dinner on a daily basis. With so many selections to choose from at the grocery store, it can be overwhelming trying to make a decision on which one is the best to eat. That's why we turned to yogurt expert Amanda Blechman, RD, CDN, and senior manager of scientific affairs at Danone North America, to offer advice on which qualities to seek out in yogurt brands so you walk away with the best purchase. Then after, be sure to read up on our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Why is yogurt so important for your overall health?
As Blechman says, not only is yogurt versatile—and can be included in a range of dishes—but it's also rich in various nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and protein. All of these nutrients help to promote muscle and bone health, she adds. For some people, yogurt may be a more easily digestible alternative to milk due to its lower lactose content. The cultures used to make yogurt can even aid your body in lactose digestion, but just know that not all yogurts provide the same amount of gut-healthy probiotics.
"It's actually a common misconception that all yogurts contain probiotics, but not all cultures can be considered probiotics," says Blechman. "Depending on the strain, probiotics have different benefits. For example, the exclusive probiotic strain found in Activia helps support gut health."
What is the best yogurt to eat?
While Blechman says there are so many delicious yogurts in grocery stores that she would recommend, she does have a few favorites at the moment.
"I am loving Two Good Lowfat Yogurt right now," says Blechman, "It contains 2 grams total sugar per 5.3 oz container and the brand is working hard to combat food waste. For every Two Good you buy, an equal amount of food goes to someone in need by partnering with two food rescue organizations, City Harvest of New York City, and We Don't Waste of Denver, Colorado, as part of their One Cup, Less Hunger [initiative]."
Her second recommendation is Activia, which is made of four live and active cultures in addition to billions of its exclusive probiotic strain. Currently, the product comes in both dairy and plant-based options, which is helpful for those who can't digest dairy or follow a vegan lifestyle.
At the end of the day, though, there isn't just one yogurt that reigns supreme. Look at the stand-out qualities in the two yogurts Blechman selected. Her first option contains minimal sugar while the second contains a bit more sugar, but also way more probiotics. It largely comes down to what matters most to you at this point in your life.
"From plain, unsweetened yogurts, to options with fruit or high-intensity sweeteners, the booming yogurt aisle is a clear sign that food is moving away from a 'one size fits all' approach," says Blechman. "My personal nutrition philosophy is that all foods can fit into a balanced, healthy eating pattern, so I'd say rather than looking for ingredients to avoid, look for yogurts that offer attributes that work for you and flavors you enjoy."
So instead of going into the supermarket asking "what's the best yogurt to buy" instead, try turning inward a bit and ask "why do I want the yogurt?" If you're looking for a yogurt that would substitute a dessert, maybe opt for a sweet and creamy option like Noosa. Or maybe purchasing grass-fed dairy products is something that's very important to you, in which case, Stonyfield 100% Grass-Fed Organic Greek Yogurt could be a great choice.
For more, be sure to check out Side Effects of Giving up Yogurt, According to Science.