We have all stood in front of the yogurt section, mouth agape, completely overwhelmed by all of the choices. It’s super challenging for someone who has had bariatric surgery as we have been told ‘no fruit pieces’ in puree stages, no sugar, high protein and low carb. You have not found that yogurt, because it does not exist!

Siggis Nutrition Label

It’s All Greek to me
Good yogurt is good for us! People have been eating yogurt all over the world for hundreds of years. A cup of ‘real’ yogurt has almost half of your daily calcium in a form the bariatric gut can easily absorb, plus if you choose wisely, lots of easy to eat protein!

Too many get hung up on carbs but real yogurt has good carbs because they come with vitamins minerals and nutrients. We are not looking for lower carb empty ‘dead’ or processed food, we want healthy living food. Real yogurt with live cultures support digestive health. The stuff that some of you are eating is cornstarch thickened water with near zero health or nutrient benefits.

Plain Jane
The best way to begin to explain yogurt is to look at the nutrition label of Plain Yogurt. This would not be as confusing if the government food label were changed to let us know how many grams of ‘added sugar’ are in a food. The problem with any dairy product is it contains the natural sugar lactose. On a Nutrition Facts label, this natural sugar is listed as ‘Sugar’. When you look at plain yogurts below, natural ‘lactose’ is the only sugar in the container and it’s not the bad kind.

Choosing Healthy Yogurt

Pour some sugar on me
Plain yogurt starts off with 7 grams of milk sugar. This is the sugar found naturally in milk, NOT added sugar. If you venture into sweetened flavored yogurts every additional 4 grams of sugar means 1 teaspoon of ‘Added Sugar’. If you are eating yogurt with 20 grams of sugar, it’s dessert, as there are 3 teaspoons of added sugar in your cup. Psssst… you can tell if there is added sugar when you read the ingredients as sugar will be in the list.

My Shortcut: Don’t buy yogurt that lists sugar as the first or second or third ingredient. It’s best to buy plain and add a little Inspire protein powder as flavoring, either Pom Razz or PB Cookie are excellent.

What’s in it
Real yogurt has two ingredients: Milk and live active bacteria cultures. Yep, that’s it. Ingredients like food starch, gum, corn starch, gelatin, and milk protein concentrate are thickeners. When you buy a container that has starches in it you are eating fillers. Brands with thickeners do not even have the word yogurt on the container – not allowed. We assume the word yogurt.



Still Confused?
Dannon Oikos Triple Zero, shown below, is a Good Choice. Look at the ingredients, no gelatins or cornstarch thickeners and no sugar. The 7 grams of sugar are the same as plain yogurt, so you know that Triple Zero Strawberry has 0 added sugar (one of the ‘triple zeros’ no added sugar, no artificial sweetener, no fat)


It even has a low 9 grams of carbs (15 grams total carbs minus 6 grams fiber equals 9 net carbs.) Another bonus is that this brand is sweetened with natural stevia, so no artificial sweeteners. This brand is a winner and it tastes great.

My Shortcut: since fiber is not digested and absorbed, it is deducted from the number of carbs. If a food has 12g carbs and 4g fiber, it has 8g net carbs.

Another good one
Siggi’s is another great brand if you can find it. It’s the Icelandic version of yogurt, called skyr. It is super thick and less sour – fold it with diced cucumbers, dill, salt and lots of black pepper. Yogurt does not have to be sweet. Think outside the box!


My Shortcut: When you remove the lid, stir in the teaspoon or so of watery liquid on top of the yogurt… that’s whey protein!

With a four ounce pouch, it’s a good idea to make your food count or at least not be fooled into thinking what you’re eating is good when it’s not. Learn about bariatric nutrition and take care of yourself.


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26 thoughts on “Mad Label Skills: Yogurt

  1. Jane says:

    Thanks for explaining this to me. It is very confusing when looking on the shelf at the choices. Yogurt is something handy to eat anytime!

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      24kt, while Siggi’s has cane sugar, remember that ingredients are listed in order of highest to lowest volume, so with Siggi’s having so few ingredients and being so clean that sugar represents very little. The sugar grams are still very low and not ALL the flavors have it,

  2. karen says:

    wow how informative – thank you so much cause I did not know about all the things to look at in yogurt. I was using dannon light and fit thinking it was the best,

  3. Nannycj4 says:

    Thank you so much for this information. What you think is good for you i usually what is the worst thing for you. I just need the motivation to get up off my butt and eat the way I should and embrace the surgery instead of thinking GREAT, well this lasted for awhile and yes even tho I am much smaller than before still carrying an extra 45 pounds. Thank you for caring.

  4. Laura says:

    I use the Fage plain greek yogurt and add a scoop of Inspire Strawberry White Chocolate to it – something I will slice up a strawberry and ad that to – added protein – great for breakfast or a snack.

  5. Neilia says:

    Great Article, I have tried the triple zero before and like it but have been using the purple one listed above most of the time. Love the black cherry they have and strawberry. Guess I will be doing the triple zero from now on..Thanks for the info!

  6. Paula Boydston says:

    Great article. A post-bariatric surgery friend and I have gone round and round about this. You settled our disagreement. Thanks. Hard to make the right choices without accurate information.

  7. cheryl says:

    Found the Oikos Tripple Zero at Sam’s Club this week. How come their label does not list any live cultures? Isn’t that a key ingredients for yogurt? I see the milk says it is “cultured” milk, but do not see the actual cultures listed on label as the ingredient labels do for Fage and Chobani. I buy Fage or Chobani plain greek yogurt and add protein powder & sometimes a few frozen or fresh berries. Hmmm….think I will stick to Fage 1st and Chobani 2nd (to me they seem higher quality).

    • Susan Maria Leach says:

      Cheryl, we are on same page, plain Greek Fage cannot be beat! Oikos Triple Zero DOES say Live Active Cultures on the label plus it actually says YOGURT which means it has to have Live Cultures, look again. My point was that the thickened water varieties such as Yoplait are not good. Thanks for you comment!

  8. Michelle Ford-Copley says:

    Thank you! I was just sleeved Monday and am even after 10 years of research into this; learning! This makes so much more sense.

  9. Pamela says:

    What about the Agave? It has been said it doesn’t affect blood sugar like sugars do but it is very sweet juice from a cactus?

  10. Lisa says:

    Oh thank you! I think I have repeated this information at least at least a dozen times on this forum but the misinformation never ends. Overly processed empty-calorie low carb food is not a friend for bariatric diners. Every food decision should be based on obtaining the biggest nutritional punch for the amount of calories we are allowed. Great information, hopefully everyone will read it.

  11. Kathy Dockery says:

    Thank you.. I’m one of those who stands in front of the yogurt section for what seems like hours reading labels trying to choose the best one for me.. I recently tried the Fage 0% and added Vanilla protein.. Even my granddaughter likes it.. Now I will be looking for Siggis..

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