Choosing the Right Yogurt: Healthy Dairy or Dessert?

Dietician Danette Allen put your favorite brand names to the test.

As your grocery shopping and come across all the different yogurts, which one do you choose? Weight Watchers claims to “widdle your waist line,” while Activia promises to “promote great digestion and health.” Yoplait says it “tastes great all while helping you fit into that smaller size jean.” With so many choices, no wonder consumers are confused!

Doing a little research and taste sampling, I was able to take some of the most popular brands and compare them against one another.

I compared them with:

• sugar content

• fat content

• ingredients

• taste.

My sample consisted of:

1. Yoplait

2. Dannon

3. Danon Light & Fit

4. Weight Watchers

5. Activia

6. Wallaby

7. Greek Gods

8. Brown Cow

So which ones should you buy for health purposes?

Wallaby, Greek Gods, and Brown Cow all had the best ingredients – or should I say less ingredients. They were not weighed down with artificial flavorings, chemicals such as yellow #5 or blue #1. Why start putting chemicals in your body first thing in the morning, when you don’t have too? They all contained a lower sugar content, consisting of organic cane sugar, instead of high fructose corn syrup (chemically altered sugar). The best thing though, is they contained all live cultures of healthy bacteria such as L. acidophilus, L-bigaricus, S. thermophilus, & bifidus.

Weight Watchers and Danon Light & Fit were not everything they claimed. Yes, they had low fat content, but high sugar content. They also did not contain all of the live cultures, which is why yogurt is healthy in the first place. Weight Watchers, especially, had many chemicals but unlike Danon Light & Fit it had more live cultures.

Yoplait and Danon were defiantly your dessert yogurts. Having both High fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and not many live cultures. Yes, they may have all the flavors under the moon, but at what cost?

I know you are all wondering about Activia..does it really help with digestion? The answer is yes…but not any better than Wallaby, Greek Gods or Brown Cow. All those yogurts contain the same live cultures which help with digestion, but Activia just has a great marketing plan!

All in all, your best bet is to purchase a low fat, plain flavor brand such as Greek Gods, or Wallaby. They have all natural ingredients, all the live bacterial cultures to promote digestion and health, no fat, and low amounts of milk sugars and a nice tasting creamy flavor. The beauty about purchasing plain yogurt is you can add your own natural flavoring. Flavor it with a tsp. honey or all natural maple syrup. You can pour Acai juice or add fresh blueberries and nuts.

Danette Allen is the owner of Action Personal Training in Salt Lake City. She has been a dietician and fitness professional for the past 11 years. Danette has a huge passion for health and speaks to local and national groups about ways to feel your best. For more information about her personal training services or fitness retreats, visit

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