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Mad Label Skills: Yogurt

Mad Label Skills: Yogurt

Susan Maria Leach  /  6/17/2019  /  Facebook  /  Twitter  / 

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!

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.

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!

*Please note that not all flavors of Siggi's are created equally. Please pay attention to the label AND ingredients listed.

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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