Senior Dietitian Victoria Taylor explains the difference between Greek yogurt and other types of yogurt, and tells us how to spot added sugar.

Yogurt is a nutritious dairy product that can be a tasty and healthy addition to your diet. It is a fermented food made by adding live yoghurt (which contains bacteria) to milk. It is a good source of protein and calcium.

Research also suggests that the special mix of nutrients in dairy foods like yogurt and milk helps reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease. This is true even though the type of fat in dairy foods is saturated fat.

Strained Greek yogurt is thicker and higher in protein than normal plain yogurt and milk. Adding 200g of Greek yogurt to muesli instead of 200ml of milk can double the amount of protein you are getting from around 7g to 14g. This increased amount of protein can make Greek yogurt more filling, which is helpful if you are trying to lose weight.

But not all Greek yogurts are the same. Some are less healthy than others.

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Some are sweetened, making them high in sugar. In fact, sugar sweetened yogurts are one of the biggest sources of added sugars in our diets. And some are made with cream as well as milk, making them high in saturated fats.

However, others containing live bacteria (cultures) may be good for gut health. But more research is needed to know the full benefit.

To make sure you are choosing the healthiest option, look for the words ‘no added sugar’ and ‘100% milk’ on the tub. And check that the only ingredients are ‘milk’ and ‘live cultures’.

You will also see yogurt with ‘low-fat’ or ‘0% fat’ labels. Whether these are healthier than full-fat milk yogurt is being looked at by scientists.

For now, the UK government advises choosing low-fat. This is because low-fat yogurt has less saturated fat in it than full-fat yogurt, which helps keep your cholesterol levels down.

It also has fewer calories, which helps with weight loss. But watch out for low-fat fruit yogurts as they often have a lot of sugar in them.

Meet the expert

Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with 20 years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. At British Heart Foundation she advises on diet and nutrition.