Is it just us, or does the yogurt aisle at the grocery seem a mile long? With over-packed shelves offering so many choices, all with seemingly healthy ingredients, it’s getting hard to make a selection. (Get Insider Tips on How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label.) Here’s a guide to help you on your next trip down the aisle.
1. Greek Yogurt. Food manufacturers are scrambling to put this Mediterranean stud in everything from ice cream to granola bars. Noted for its creamy flavor and thick texture, Greek yogurt tastes different because of its straining process, in which the yogurt is pressed through a cloth. Producing Greek yogurt requires three to four times more milk, so it offers more protein per serving than most other yogurts. It’s also lower in carbohydrate and sodium, making it a good choice for people watching their carb intake.
2. Regular Yogurt. This old standby seems like it’s getting left in the dust. Regular flavored yogurt typically contains artificial coloring and significant amounts of sugar, making it a poor nutritional choice. However, before you throw in the spoon for good, regular yogurt does beat out the Herculean Greek in terms of its calcium content. Greek yogurt's straining process also removes some calcium, so regular yogurt contains about 10% more calcium than Greek.
3. Non-Dairy. As more people ditch dairy products, dairy alternatives such as soy, almond and coconut milk are gaining in popularity. The fermentation of these diary alternatives requires extra sugar and thickeners to improve texture, knocking them down a notch or two on the nutritional scale. They also contain less protein than dairy yogurts.
4. Kefir: A fermented milk product, Kefir is a more liquid and naturally aerated diary product. Since it uses yeast in addition to bacteria, it contains more probiotics—up to 12 strands compared to only two in regular yogurt.
The good news is that all yogurt varieties contain probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in your digestive tract, helping your body break down food and boosting your immune system. From yogurt, you're getting at least two strains of probiotics: L bugaricus and S thermophiles. To ensure you're getting the recommended dose, look for the National Yogurt Association's Live and Active Cultures seal.
Yogurt doesn’t just have to be eaten out of its plastic container with a spoon. P.J. James of Fit to Fat and Back provided us with two of his favorite recipes that incorporate Greek yogurt. (See also Protein-Packed Smoothies Without Protein Powder.)
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 Isabel Celigueta Torres, Thomas Janhøj, Bente Østergaard Mikkelsen, Richard Ipsen. “Effect of microparticulated whey protein with varying content of denatured protein on the rheological and sensory characteristics of low-fat yoghurt,” International Dairy Journal, 2011, 21, 9, 645
 Ying Huang , Fei Wu , Xiaojun Wang , Yujie Sui , Longfei Yang , Jinfeng Wang. “Characterization of Lactobacillus plantarum Lp27 isolated from Tibetan kefir grains: A potential probiotic bacterium with cholesterol-lowering effects.” Journal of Dairy Science, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 14 March 2013, Page
 ^ Schlundt, Jorgen. "Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria." Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food Including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria. FAO / WHO. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
 Parvez, S., Malik, KA., Ah Kang, S., et al. Helix Pharms Co. Ltd, Kyung-Hee University, and Department of Biological Sciences of Oriental Medicine, Graduate School of Interdepartmental Studies, Institute of Oriental Medicines, Kyung-Hee University, Dongdaemoon-gu, Seoul, Korea. “Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial to health.” Journal of Applied Microbiology 2006 Jun;100(6):1171-85.⤴
 Michael B. Zemel1,*, Warren Thompson2, Anita Milstead1, Kristin Morris1, Peter Campbell1. “Calcium and Dairy Acceleration of Weight and Fat Loss during Energy Restriction in Obese Adults.” Article first published online: 6 SEP 2012. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2004.67. 2004 North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO)
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