Though most foods follow standard serving sizes, yogurt is a little different. Due to the variety in size of its packaging, a serving of yogurt often varies from brand to brand, particularly when it comes to the single-serve containers. Larger containers, on the other hand, often follow a more standardized measurement for the servings.
If you look at the nutrition facts on larger containers of yogurt, you'll likely see a serving size listed as 1 cup, which is equivalent to about 8 ounces. The calories in this size serving depend on the fat content of the yogurt, ranging anywhere from 100 to more than 200 calories. Nonfat and low-fat yogurts generally contain fewer calories than the whole-fat varieties. The reason for this is that fat contains roughly 9 calories per gram, whereas carbs and protein contain only 4 calories per gram. So the higher the fat content, the more calories in the serving.
Single-serve containers usually have serving sizes anywhere between 4 and 6 ounces. While smaller than the standard serving size, these containers often contain close to the same number of calories as the large ones, ranging from 70 to almost 200 calories per serving. As with the larger containers, the fat content of the yogurt affects its total caloric value.
In addition to caloric content, the nutrients in a serving vary from brand to brand. The fat content in yogurt can range anywhere from 0 to as much as 10 grams of fat, including about 7 grams of saturated fat, which is the type of fat that can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. Full-fat Greek yogurts tend to be the highest in fat. The carb content in a serving of yogurt can be as low as 12 grams to upwards of 40 grams, depending on the amount of sugar used to sweeten the product. Protein also varies from about 3 grams to more than 20 grams per serving with Greek yogurts usually having the highest amounts.
Serving size is much different than portion size, so it's important to note how much you're actually eating. This is especially true for the larger containers. With the single-serve cups, you know exactly how many calories you're eating as well as grams of fat, carbs and protein. The same can't be said for the tubs. If you're trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, consider measuring the portion you're putting in your bowl.