Dairy products are an important source of calcium, which is needed for bone health. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends consuming 3 cups of dairy daily, and yogurt makes a contribution to this requirement. With protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals, yogurt contains some essential nutrients. It also, however, may contain a good deal of saturated fat and sugar, so read labels carefully.
Regular vanilla yogurt may contain a good deal of fat, particularly saturated fat. Eight oz. of Dannon Activia vanilla yogurt, for example, contain 4 g fat, of which 2.5 g are saturated. While unsaturated fat is beneficial in terms of maintaining heart health, saturated fat increases "bad" cholesterol in the blood and is linked with heart disease. To avoid this, select low-fat or fat-free vanilla yogurt.
Vanilla yogurt is a good source of protein, with 10 g in 8 oz. of Dannon Activia vanilla yogurt. This is approximately 18 percent of the protein needed daily for a 150-lb. person. If you are watching your weight, it is important to include protein in your between-meal snacks, as it helps to keep you satisfied and prevents overeating. A small container of yogurt topped with fruit would provide you with both protein and fiber to help you stay full.
A fair amount of carbohydrate is found in vanilla yogurt, with 37 g in 8 oz. of Dannon Activia vanilla yogurt, fulfilling 12 percent of your daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The same amount of yogurt also contains 34 g sugar. Sugar is a source of "empty" calories, meaning that it provides energy without other nutrients your body needs. To keep your intake under control, you might try adding a small amount of sugar to plain yogurt instead.
Vitamins and Minerals
Calcium is found in large amounts in vanilla yogurt, with 35 percent of your daily value in 8 oz. of Dannon Activia vanilla yogurt. It also contains 35 percent of the daily value for riboflavin, 13 percent for potassium and 8 percent for thiamine. Vanilla yogurt also contains some sodium, with 6 percent of the daily value, which should be limited in your diet due to its association with high blood pressure.
- United States Department of Agriculture: How Much Food from the Dairy Group is Needed Daily?
- LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate: Dannon Activia Vanilla Yogurt
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats; January 2011
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein
- United States Department of Agriculture: What Are "Discretionary Calories"?
- MayoClinic.com: How to Tame Your Salt Habit Now; May 2010