Sugar in Yogurt: How to Spot Hidden Sugars & Artificial Sweeteners

Probiotics play an important role in the 17 Day Diet. When most people think probiotics, yogurt usually comes to mind. Did you know there is sugar in yogurt?

Sugar in Yogurt - how to find hidden sugar and artificial sweeteners in your favorite brands

Yogurt isn’t the only way to get your probiotics in, but since many of us tend to eat yogurt as our main source of probiotics, we’ll talk about what to look for when choosing a low sugar yogurt.

Once you’re finished with this post, I have a free downloadable worksheet so you may conduct your own in-home audit of your brand of yogurt (it’s at the bottom of this post).

Sugar in Yogurt

You’ll be surprised how often you’ll find hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners in the ingredients of many of the big-name brands.

Sugar in Yogurt - How to Spot Hidden Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners

When looking for a low sugar yogurt, we have to keep a few things in mind.

For instance, a brand that has 9 grams of sugar may not be so bad if the serving size is 1 cup. So finding out a few things will help you determine if a particular brand of yogurt has a lot of sugar or not.

 

First, let’s talk about the three things to look for when you’re trying to find hidden sugar in yogurt:

1. Serving Size of Yogurt

The serving size is the first place you want to look. If you are not aware of how big or small a serving size is, then the rest of the information is somewhat useless.

Step 1 in finding sugar in your yogurt is to find the serving size

This information will tell you a lot about the remaining facts and ingredients.

For instance, if a serving size for a particular food item is a tablespoon and the grams of sugar is 10, then you’re consuming a TON of sugar!

Now if the serving size is one cup and the sugar grams is 7, then not as much.

If you’re here for the 17 Day Diet, a serving of yogurt is 6 oz.

2. Grams of Sugar Per Serving

The number of grams of sugar per serving is the second thing you’ll want to take a look at when inspecting your brand’s nutrition label.

Step 2 in finding sugar in your yogurt is to find out how many grams of sugar in a serving

This number tells you how many grams of sugar are in each serving. Some labels will even give you how much is from added sugar.

So here’s a quick way to understand the context of sugar grams:

for every 4 grams of sugar, you’re consuming 1 teaspoon of sugar

Keep in mind, when you’re looking at sugar grams on a nutrition label, some of the grams come from the natural sugars (think fructose from fruit and lactose from milk) and some come from refined sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, etc.

3. Ingredients in Yogurt

The ingredients tell the whole story and is the third step on the list you’ll want to pay attention to when trying to spot sugar on a nutrition label.

Step 3 in finding sugar in your yogurt is to check the ingredients

If you see any of the “sneaky” sugar names on the list, then you’ve found sugar.

If the sugar source is in the first few ingredients, then you have a problem!

Some of the common names for sugar and sweeteners when looking at nutrition labels for yogurt are:

  1. Fructose (this is from fruit)
  2. Sucrose (this is sugar mainly from sugar cane or sugar beets)
  3. Fruit Puree
  4. Sucralose (this is an artificial sweetener and the most common brand is Splenda)

Let’s Inspect a Few Yogurt Nutrition Labels

Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt

Sugar in Yogurt - Fage 0% Total Greek Yogurt label

The serving size is 170 grams, which amounts to almost 6 oz, which is the suggested serving size of yogurt for the 17 Day Diet.

The sugar grams is 7.

For every serving of this yogurt, you’re consuming 7 grams of sugar or about less than 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Let’s now look at the actual ingredients to see if we can spot the source of sugar.

Fage 0% Total Greek Yogurt
Ingredient list for Fage 0% Total Greek Yogurt

If you look at the ingredient list above, you will see there is no added sugar.

The source of sugar in this brand is the milk, which is naturally occurring sugar (lactose).

Let’s look at one more label.

Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt (Strawberry Cheesecake)

Sugar in Yogurt - inspecting Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt (Strawberry Cheesecake)
Nutrition Panel for Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt (Strawberry Cheesecake)

The serving size for this brand is 150 grams, which is less than a 6 oz serving size.

There is 7 grams of sugar per serving.

Even though this yogurt contains the same amount of sugar grams as the first example, our serving size here is a bit smaller, so you’re eating more sugar relative to the serving size.

Unlike the plain yogurt above, there is added sugar: fructose.

In addition to this, there is artificial sweetener added called Sucralose (aka Splenda). ​

If you go one step further, you’ll also see the fruit puree which also contains sugar, but this is added to the yogurt because it’s a strawberry flavored type.

What is the Best Low Sugar Yogurt for the 17 Day Diet?

At the end of the day, if you’re choosing yogurt as your main probiotic, it’s wise to choose a brand that contains as few grams of sugar as possible.

While the 17 Day Diet doesn’t necessarily give us guidelines on how much sugar is too much, the entire concept of the diet is low sugar.

For a 6oz serving, if you can keep your sugar grams to 9 grams or less, you’re in the ballpark. If you can find a brand that contains even less than 9 grams, then you’re doing pretty good!

Best Low Sugar Greek Yogurt

If you like the thickness and tanginess of a Greek yogurt, I always recommend starting with a plain Greek yogurt for the lowest amount of sugar content.

Here are my top Best Low Sugar Greek Yogurt brands

 

Greek yogurt can be a great base – think of it as a canvas for which you can add real foods to. I enjoy adding fresh berries to my plain Greek yogurt.

When you add your own fruits and flavors, you know what you’re getting and you’re able to control the added sugar.

I think any of the Fage plain Greek Yogurts are your best bet.

If you shop at WalMart, their Great Value brand of Greek Yogurt is not too bad either.

There are other brands of plain Greek yogurt from this list that have low sugar.

If you choose a fruit flavored Greek yogurt, many brands contain added sugars in the form of fructose, fruit puree, and fruit juices, so always be careful when choosing a fruit flavored yogurt (Greek or otherwise).

Best Low Sugar Yogurt

If you’re not a fan of Greek or plain yogurt, there are a few brands of fruit flavored yogurt that aren’t too high in sugar, even though most of them contain added sugar and/or artificial sweeteners.

Depending on how “clean” you like to eat, some might include artificial sweeteners, so always be looking at labels when choosing a low sugar yogurt.

While I personally stay away from fruit-flavored yogurts and artificial sweeteners, there are a few brands of yogurt that are better than others.

Here are my best low sugar fruit flavored yogurts

So if you absolutely must have a fruit flavored yogurt, here are a few that you may want to check out:

  • Siggi’s vanilla flavored yogurt (it does contain agave nectar, which is sugar)
  • Two Good Yogurt by Dannon Light & Fit (it’s sweetened by Stevia and it does not contain any artificial sweetener, but some do include fruit juice concentrate so check the labels). 

At last resort, this would be something to eat on occasion:

  • Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt – while these do have Sucralose (Splenda) in them, they are an option for a low-sugar yogurt if you’re fine consuming artificial sweeteners and a little bit of added sugar.

At the end of the day, you’re not required to eat yogurt as your main source of probiotics.

If you’re not a fan of the other food items on the probiotic list, then consider a probiotic supplement.

Free Printable Worksheet: How Much Sugar Is In My Yogurt?

I created a free fillable PDF worksheet so you can easily conduct an in-home audit on the brand of yogurt you eat. Click the image below to download it to your computer or device.

Download a FREE PDF worksheet to find out how much sugar is hiding in your yogurt

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9 thoughts on “Sugar in Yogurt: How to Spot Hidden Sugars & Artificial Sweeteners”

  1. Thanks Torey! I’ve been looking at the serving size and grams of sugar but not the hidden sugars. Good to know! I’ve been using Aldi’s fat free plain greek yogurt Chobani, and occasionally Fage (for some reason it’s harder to find). This afternoon, before reading this, I decided I was going to try to make my own in my Mealthy multi-pot (similar to an InstaPot). I hear it tastes better and is less $.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome, Kate! Did you end up making your own yogurt? I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but haven’t had the “courage” to try lol. I hear it’s easy enough!

      Reply
      • I made the yogurt in my Mealthy Multipot (electric pressure cooker) and it couldn’t have been easier. Only two ingredients: Fairlife milk and 2 tablespoons of Fage Greek yogurt for the starter. Fairlife has less sugar than regular milk. I started it before I went to bed because it takes 8 hours and it was ready when I woke up. I chilled it a few hours and it turned out delicious. The recipe I followed is found on a blog called Frieda loves bread. She explains everything. I enjoy it with cinnamon and fresh berries.

        Reply
  2. Great information in this link. Along with the sucralose consider the artificial sweetener, acesulfame potassium or Ace-K. It often presents with sucralose. The significance of Ace-K is the ability to cross the blood brain barrier.

    Reply
  3. This was a big help. I have been using Walmart’s plain Greek yogurt so I checked the nutrition and it says a 3/4 cup has 0 sugars. That’s good right?

    Reply
    • There’s likely natural sugar from lactose, but the key is looking at the ingredients to see if they add in extra sugar. Chances are they didn’t, and if that’s the case, then that’s good!

      Reply

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