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what's in your yoghurt?


If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or confused when buying yoghurt, you’re not alone. Jane Robinson, Accredited Practising Dietitian, helps sort the healthy varieties from the desserts in disguise.

There are hundreds of yoghurts available in the aisles of Coles and Woolworths, with claims that range from low-fat, lite and diet, to natural and no added sugar. Deciding which yoghurt is best for you can be a tough task. Research from LiveLighter found that more than half of the flavoured yoghurts sold in Coles and Woolworths contained more than three teaspoons of sugar per serve. Some contained as many as 7.5 teaspoons of sugar in a small 160g tub!

But don’t let the figures put you off. Yoghurt can be a great source of calcium, protein and those with live bacteria, or probiotics, may benefit digestive health. You just need to know what you’re looking for.


Fat is broken into total fat and saturated fat. Choose the yoghurt that has the lowest in saturated fat.


Some ‘diet’ yoghurts contain an artificial sweetener instead of sugar. This lowers the energy and sugar content of the product but some people don’t like the taste of these sweeteners or prefer not to use them. Buying a low fat yoghurt instead is just as healthy.


Buying a large container of yoghurt is much cheaper than buying the individual tubs. If you are taking yoghurt to work or school just put about 200g into a plastic container for a healthy snack.

can you get a zero sugar yoghurt?

Not really. Yoghurt contains lactose, which is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk and a fruit yoghurt will contain fruit sugar (fructose) also. What you need to look out for is the added or free sugar. Keep an eye on the ingredients list and if you find sugar, sucrose, glucose, fructose, honey or syrups (e.g. maple syrup, rice syrup, corn syrup etc) you know the yoghurt contains added or free sugars.

He ain't heavy

Be wary of flavoured yoghurts that market themselves as ‘light’ or ‘lite’. This description can refer to the weight, texture or colour rather than the fat content. Check the label!

calcium content

Not all yoghurt is equal when it comes to calcium. Since it naturally contains calcium, you’d think the amount would be the same no matter which yoghurt you pick. Wrong. The levels can vary widely from brand to brand, so you really need to check the label and choose one that has at least 100mg per 100g.

swap the mayo or sour cream for yoghurt

Use low-fat plain yoghurt as a salad dressing – just as tasty but lower in kilojoules than mayonnaise. Add paprika, curry powder, finely chopped dill or parsley for extra flavour. Swap sour cream in curry or stroganoff for yoghurt.


Check the label for:

  • Energy less than 400kj per 100g
  • Fat less than 2g per 100g (low fat)
  • Calcium at least 100mg per 100g

*Thanks to Diabetes Queensland for sharing this article.

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