The makeup of yogurt was once simple: milk and live cultures. Consumers sometimes get confused as to which type of yogurt to buy, because the ingredients in many types of yogurts are not as straightforward anymore. In an effort to make healthier products, some yogurt manufacturers use reduced-fat milk. To make up for the taste, other ingredients are added. Low-fat and nonfat yogurts both contain less fat than traditional yogurt made with whole milk. However, added ingredients might make such products less healthy than plain yogurt.
Traditional yogurt is made from whole milk. The fat content in whole milk is higher than skim and low-fat milks. To reduce the fat grams in yogurt, some manufacturers use low-fat or skim milk. The fat content in low-fat and nonfat yogurts depends on the fat grams of the milk used. According to Ask Dr Sears, low-fat yogurt contains between 0.5 and 2 percent of milk fat. Nonfat yogurt contains less fat than low-fat yogurt, usually under 0.5 percent.
Plain yogurt has a rich taste to it. By using reduced-fat milk, yogurt would likely have an unpleasant taste. To make up for a lack of flavor, yogurt manufacturers add different ingredients to the mix. Fruit, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners make the yogurt taste more like a dessert. Added sugar gives the yogurt higher overall carbohydrate content. Preservatives and food colorings might be added to make the yogurt last longer and look more appetizing. The lower the fat content, the more ingredients there will be in a cup of yogurt.
If you are looking to reduce fat in your diet, nonfat yogurt is a better choice than low-fat yogurt. However, nonfat yogurts might also contain less calcium and protein than low-fat and plain yogurts. Some yogurts are also more caloric because of fruits and syrups that are added for taste. The most nutritious yogurt is plain yogurt with added fruits for taste. Ask Dr. Sears advocates whole yogurt because it contains higher levels of calcium and protein as well as less sugar than other types of yogurt.
Plain yogurt made from whole milk is healthier overall than yogurt made with low-fat or skim milk. If you are worried about fat in your diet, reduce other types of unhealthy fats from other foods. Fat, along with protein and carbohydrates, is a dietary necessity. Fats help provide your body with energy and maximize vitamin absorption. Kids Health recommends that your daily diet consist of 30 percent fat. Eat yogurt in moderation and choose heart-healthy fats found in nuts, legumes, fish and olive oil.