The Ugly Truth about Yogurt

Yogurt has deep roots. It has been enjoyed in many cultures for a long part of history. It is traditionally made by adding milk and a small amount of a yogurt starter culture together and incubating it for several hours within a specific temperature range.

This type of yogurt is a delicious staple in many kitchens around the world! Many cultures consume yogurt as a condiment or as an accompaniment to spicy foods.

In western cultures, yogurt is considered to be a delicious health food with beneficial bacteria that aids digestion and satisfies cravings without any guilt. Greek yogurt is a popular choice among the health conscious because the whey has been strained out and what’s left is a creamy and protein rich treat.

People in the west are also becoming increasingly aware of the potential health benefits that enjoying fermented foods, such as yogurt, may have. Probiotics and foods containing probiotics are quickly becoming a mainstream trend and yogurt is at the forefront of this movement.

Unfortunately, there is a disparity between the yogurt made through traditional methods and the carton of key lime pie flavored (and any other flavored variety) non-fat yogurt that is ubiquitous on the shelves of the typical grocery store.

3 Reasons You Should Not Eat Most Yogurt

Probiotics – It may be true that there are beneficial probiotics in commercially produced yogurt but any dairy products available at grocery stores have undergone pasteurization at high temperatures which is a process that beneficial bacteria cannot survive. Therefore, the probiotics are likely added to the yogurt after it has been pasteurized rather than allowing the natural fermentation process to produce the bacteria inherent to the yogurt culture. Some manufacturers add specific strains of probiotics that they believe is most beneficial for consumers.

In theory, this is a good idea, but these manufacturers do not take into account that different people may need different strains of probiotics. Therefore, you may not be eating the yogurt that has the good bacteria that your individual system needs, even though you believe you are doing something healthy. Even though the added probiotics in yogurt at the grocery store may be somewhat beneficial among some consumers, they typically come at a high cost to your health…

Sugar – The problem with these store-bought yogurts is that most of them, especially the alluring ones, are loaded with sugar. How often do you see a yogurt product that sounds too good to be true? The labels read like a decadent dessert menu at a fancy restaurant….Key lime pie, triple berry torte, and red velvet cake. These flavored yogurts claim to be healthy by using the target words “low-fat” or “light” to entice you, but fail to overtly mention the large amount of sugar that exists in place of the fat that was removed. Flavored nonfat or low-fat yogurts sometimes contain up to 25 to 30 grams of added sugar per serving.

Experts on sugar intake suggest that 50 grams of added sugar is the maximum amount individuals should consume on a daily basis. This means that these yogurts may contain half the amount of the sugar that you should ideally consume per day.

Consider that the calories are usually under 200 per serving of yogurt and you can see that the sugar content is way too high for a reasonable daily caloric intake of 2000 calories. Now it’s clear that these sugary yogurts are not going to help you with your goals of eating healthy, even though their advertisements and labels claim to do just that.

Fruits – You should not only consider the amount of sugar that these yogurts have, but you should also know that the fruits that are frequently swimming in the bottom of your yogurt cup may not be very fresh. The fruit used in these processed yogurts is often chosen because the quality is not good enough to be sold fresh. If the fruit isn’t fresh there is a chance it could become toxic which will make the yogurt toxic as well. Fruit that is past its expiration can produce mycotoxins, which can be harmful to those who consume it. Unfortunately, this is not information that you will find on the label of your favorite fruity yogurt.

But there’s even more to consider about these yogurts…

What if you choose to buy the plain non-fat yogurt that doesn’t have any added fruit or sweet flavors?

Well, the sugar intake is going to be less, which is a good thing, but the fat that was taken away may actually be healthy fat for you! We usually believe that non-fat or low-fat products are the healthiest because we correlate low-fat in a food to mean less fat on our bodies or in our arteries.

This is not always the case, especially when choosing something with saturated fat. Saturated fat actually helps your body to absorb some nutrients and can be very healthful in moderation. In addition, non-fat yogurt is heavily processed and is no longer as healthy because they it is not a whole food.

What Yogurt Should You Buy?

Fortunately, there are better options for those of us who want to eat healthy and avoid a lot of damaging foods that are marketed as good for us. If you enjoy the different types of yogurt that you find at the grocery store, it is best to buy the ones that offer the most benefits and the least amount of consequence. This is easy now that you know what to avoid.

Find yogurts that are made from 2% or whole milk because they’ve gone through less processing and are closer to their whole, natural form. Skip the sugar and the added fruit and opt instead for plain Greek yogurt or unsweetened plain yogurt. You can add fresh organic fruit and more nutritious sweeteners, such as honey or stevia leaf extract, to your yogurt.

Other Alternatives?

Another alternative to replace sugary yogurt products is kefir, which has a similar flavor to yogurt but is a drink. Kefir has even more probiotics than yogurt and can really add delicious flavor to a smoothie with your favorite organic fruits. The probiotics in kefir actually aid your body to have healthy digestion and may help heal your gastrointestinal disorders.

These probiotics are different than the ones in yogurt because they recolonize the gut with beneficial flora, whereas yogurt probiotics just pass through your system. You can buy kefir at health food stores and some grocery stores, but for an even healthier beverage you might want to try making it yourself. You can easily find kefir grains online to which you add milk and then ferment for approximately 15 to 24 hours.

If possible, I recommend finding a great source of local raw milk that comes from grass fed cows in order to make your kefir. Because raw milk hasn’t been pasteurized it has a higher nutrient content and is still in its whole food form! If you don’t have raw milk available, choose a lightly pasteurized organic whole milk for making kefir. You can drink kefir every day and reap the benefits!

It’s certainly confusing trying to figure out what food is best for you especially with all of the misleading marketing in the world today. But once you begin to tune into what is healthy for your body and you understand that real, whole foods are best, it’s easier to break free from this dilemma. Being aware of food trends and reading the actual ingredients on the foods you buy enables you to make great choices for yourself and your family.


If you are eating yogurt because of digestive problems, instead of eating yogurt, you need to know what exactly causes your digestive issues, find out more in the following page –



About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.

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67 responses to “The Ugly Truth about Yogurt”

  1. Laura K Olson Avatar
    Laura K Olson

    plain Greek yogurt is the exception

    1. Beverly Hong FINCHER Avatar
      Beverly Hong FINCHER

      I’ve been loosing weight in the last few months due to stomach discomfort, and My Upper Endoscopy MRI report says “abundant H-pylorie”. My doctor prescribed 2 anitibiotics for me take for 2 weeks.
      Since I am adversed to taking antibiotics, is there anything I can take to substitute, and to cure my digestive system? And, of course to gain my 30lbs back
      Thank you. Beverly

      1. Paula Avatar

        I have read the monolaurin in coconut oil kills it.I read a tablespoon a day.I read a cure that said to take a teaspoon 4 times a day which is a tablespoon worth.I understand that ginger also lessens it.You would have to take the ginger tea at least twice a day.Keep probiotics up also.Kiefer,homemade sauerkraut or kimchee with only salt as a preservative helps.Avoid sugar or gluten or things that promote candida.Eat lots of vegetables .I think it needs things to eat like yeast sugar & gluten to thrive so avoid those .Takes 3 weeks to get rid of it at least.It is what can causes ulcers.So eat lots of ginger & coconut oil.

      2. Jola Avatar

        Beverly, the most important after taking the antibiotics is to get you gut healthy. All health issues, even depression, starts with an unhealthy gut. Taking a good probiotic that has the best delivery system will get those bacteria to the lower part of the digestion system. It took me many years to finally find a good one. After 3 weeks of taking it I even got rid off allergies, inflammation.

        1. Pam Mains Avatar
          Pam Mains

          Just curious but what probiotic do you use

  2. Lee Avatar

    I understand many physicians suggest to females to eat yougurt while taking anti-biotics as it helps to maintain the flora of the female anatomy during.

  3. jill patterson Avatar
    jill patterson

    Your articles are most informative…very good to have all the info….when shopping

  4. ML Avatar

    What about soy yogart? I am trying to stay away from dairy products so have switched to soy yogart. I do like the taste much better.

    1. Emma Avatar

      You might want to reduce the consumption of soy products. Fermented soy products are good but not unfermented soy products.

      Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

      Soy yogurt is usually derived from unfermented soy.

    2. Joni Avatar

      soy bean unless it is fermented, is a mock estrogen, estrogens produce weight by nature..

    3. Allie Avatar

      Where can you get Soy Yogurt?! I’ve never seen it anywhere – I haven’t really looked either though. Is it at any grocery store or do I need to go to Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/etc.?

  5. Ellen Avatar

    I make homemade Kefir from kefir grains, cream cheese from this also ..I have kefir smoothie every day ..I mix veggies and or fruit,Hemp hearts, old fashion oats,I love my Kefir…I even make one with pineapple,70-80 % cocoa powder, banana.. when I want ice cream at nite..I make dressing for my salads with Kefir,also I bake with it …I use this for every thing ..I love my Kefir grains……………….!!!

    1. Ruth Isaac Avatar
      Ruth Isaac

      Where do I get recipes for these dishes? I do make my own yogurt, but I don’t use grains, just 1% milk and lowfat yogurt starter. Recipes sound delicious.

    2. Betty Durmeier Avatar

      I nake and drink kefir daily ,,love it, getting extra seeds now, if I find no one wants them ,,what else can I do with them? How do you make cream cheese ?

  6. Ellie Avatar

    I very much enjoyed this article..thank you for this info ..



    1. Carol Avatar

      It’s very easy! I bring 2 pints organic whole milk to a boil. Cool just until it doesn’t burn your pinkie. Pour into 2 sterilized pint canning jars and set in a tall 3 quart saucepan so they are not touching. Do NOT put lids on. Carefully pour very warm but not hot water into the pan until the water comes up to the neck of the jars. Cover the pan and put in the oven with just the pilot light to heat it. Close the oven door and set your timer for 10 hours. Remove jars and wipe dry. Put on lids and refrigerate.

      1. Carol Avatar

        whoops! forgot the starter. After the yogurt is cool enough not to burn your pinkie, add 2 level teaspoons of yogurt and stir well. Then pour into jars.

      2. DLNY Avatar

        I use a Coleman cooler filled to the jar neck with warm water. This method seems to produce more consistently for me.

    2. Roslyn Grace2 Avatar
      Roslyn Grace2

      what a nice question being an Indian… anyways, the process is there where much if u just google it..

  8. Martha Forbes Avatar
    Martha Forbes

    I am an APO 4 which means that I cannot have more than 20 per cent fat in my diet a day . I eat nonfat Greek yogurt to give me access to protein which is organic. Would you please add ideas for people like me who cannot do much fat because of gene indicators. Thank you.

  9. T. Lee Avatar
    T. Lee

    to ML: i HOPE the soy you are eating says it is non-GMO or organic.

    Last I heard, all soy in the US (as well as corn and sugar beets) is GMO (genetically modified) unless it states otherwise, and THAT would not be a good thing at all if you are trying to eat healthy foods.

  10. D.Adams Avatar

    It was not as ugly as I thought it would be

  11. Roslyn Grace2 Avatar
    Roslyn Grace2

    that was really thoughtful , though i eat the non-flavoured , low-fat yougurt… but i eat ALWAYS… like with rice and stuff… i mean in the Indian food, yougurt is a must… now i really have no idea what to do coz i love yougurt!! 🙂

  12. Rebecca Avatar

    thank you very informative article

  13. Sheryl Kennedy Avatar
    Sheryl Kennedy

    I am not sure I would advocate for people to eat/drink unpasteurized dairy products. While much of the information you have on this site is useful I find it a bit concerning that you advocate for using raw dairy products. According to the CDC numerous people in the United States became sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk annually. In addition, CDC reported that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.

  14. gloria L. Avatar
    gloria L.

    what about lactose?

  15. gloria L. Avatar
    gloria L.

    I’m lactose intolerant.

  16. Nancy Avatar

    I really appreciate your emails very informative
    Thanks so much
    I agreed about soy
    Today I have thyroid problems thanks to soy
    Happy Cristmas

  17. Mary Avatar

    Not mentioned here is that so many commercial yogurts have artificial sweeteners that are more poisonous that sugar. Try the house-made plain yogurt at an Indian restaurant, it has so much more flavor. They often have cultures that have been maintained by their families for generations! Take some home and start your own with whole, organic milk. You will never want the big brand names again!

  18. Leo C. Avatar
    Leo C.

    thank you for information, we are learning a lot of good stuff ,
    will be looking to change out our yogurt now. we really appreciate the informative emails.

  19. Marge Mullen Avatar
    Marge Mullen

    What about carrageenan? This is in all yogurt, ice cream etc.

  20. Aggie Dentel Avatar
    Aggie Dentel

    As Marge Mullen also asked….What ABOUT carrageenan?

  21. Carol Wolf Avatar
    Carol Wolf

    I have a problem with lactose and I am gluten sensitive, ibs.
    I use “so delicious” almond milk yogurt they also have coconut milk yogurt try it as an alternative

  22. shila Avatar

    I usually make my yogurt at home with the starter. but some people prefer Greek yogurt more than regural yourt. which one do you recommend?

  23. Sandy Avatar

    I drink Kefir milk & eat a lot of yogurt. I also take probiotics.
    I really appreciate the info about yogurt. I would also like making my own. Would like a good recipe to make it myself.
    I also don’t drink skim milk anymore. Switched to Almond milk. Thanks.

  24. Diana Sharp Avatar
    Diana Sharp

    I have crohn’s and am lactose intolerant. I have just discovered products made with coconut milk which I can eat. I have gotten the plain yogurt made with coconut milk and added probiotics and has little sugar. I really would like to know if this is a good substitute?
    Thank you

  25. Rose Shaw Avatar
    Rose Shaw

    Great comments……Hey Nancy……Did you really mean to spell Christmas … left the h off …….The reason for the Season is celebrating Christ’s Birth.

  26. Betty Durmeier Avatar

    I am soooo happy to find this site!

  27. Moon Letchworth Avatar
    Moon Letchworth

    Great information, keep it coming!

  28. Rhonda Hardesty Avatar
    Rhonda Hardesty

    Here I was trying to eat healthier and lose weight by eating activia each day and for my ibs , ugh seems it is not working and I’m not losing weight , no wonder , hmmm. What to eat now , ugh

  29. Darlene Avatar

    Kefir is not a good substitute for those of us who are lactose intolerant. Suggestions??

  30. Minnie Avatar

    It’s very easy to make Yogurt at home! Buy a small container of plain yogurt ( prefer Dannon ) and boil half a gallon of 2% or whole milk in a glass bowl and let it cool to the touch. Add 1 tsp. of plain yogurt and mix well, leave it overnight in a warm place…the bowl can also be wrapped in a towel or anything that will keep it warm! It can be left in the Microwave, but tell the family members so they will not use the Microwave or in the oven ( no need to wrap it as the pilot light will keep it warm )! Practice makes you perfect! If it tastes sour, either the milk was too hot for the starter or too much or too little starter! You can always turn it into buttermilk..drink it or use it as a moisturizer for your body…in other words lather up wait 5 minutes and then shower ( excellent for your face and other parts of the body )
    Do not forget to put the lid on the bowl overnight.

    People who are lactose intolerant can still eat yogurt in small quantity as fermentation changes the properties of milk and it should not be eaten at breakfast …better to eat in the mid-day with some other food and it has to be Plain yogurt…you can add your own fruit/little honey or brown sugar! Hope this helps.

  31. Kelly K Avatar
    Kelly K

    What about Organic Yogurt like Stonyfield yougurt?

  32. Cheryl B Avatar
    Cheryl B

    My daughter is highly allergic to whey. Yogurts are loaded with whey including go-gurts. My question is when you prepare your own yogurt does it still contain whey? I know if you let yogurt sit on cheese cloth the whey drains out but even doing this I think whey remains in the yogurt. So the question is can it be made without the whey? Thank you

  33. D.S.Rao Avatar

    The whole of India has been eating Yoghurt for centuries. Nothing went wrong. Many south Indian states eat rice with yoghurt with bot meals. Nothing went wrong. In the west the big houses who market the yoghurt with sugar and fruits is a problem They got you guys used to that taste. Eat plan yoghurt nothing happens. It is the marketing hype that is giving problems. Eat plain yoghurt you will be fine.

  34. Dr. Flora Mason Van Orden Avatar
    Dr. Flora Mason Van Orden

    All dairy products from a cow contain IGF-1 which cause tumors to grow. The casomorphine protein causes addiction.

  35. Loretta Jirousek Avatar
    Loretta Jirousek

    Can’t get to the screen to pay for the Alkaline Diet. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  36. Stacy Avatar

    I love So Dekicious plain cultured Greek coconut milk yogurt. It’s full of fiber, 9 grams, and only 7 gems of sugar.

  37. Alex Avatar

    Can you share resources that show how Kefir bacteria recolonize the gut vs. yogurt which does not?

  38. Paul Avatar

    I make my own yogurt.

  39. Paul Avatar

    Cheryl B asked, “My question is when you prepare your own yogurt does it still contain whey?”

    Yes, all yogurt contains whey. However, you can use a yogurt filter to drain off most (nearly all, if you’re patient) of the whey. It’s called Greek Yogurt — yogurt with the whey drained off.

  40. Paul Avatar

    gloria L. asked about lactose. You may not be as lactose intolerant as you think. I was extremely lactose intolerant. Even small amounts of milk would give me huge problems — you know what I mean. We started buying milk from a dairy that didn’t use bovine growth hormones or antibiotics. If a cow becomes ill, she’s removed for the regular milking cycle until she’s better. Also, they meet or exceed the organic standards. And guess what? When I started drinking their milk, I no longer had problems with milk. In Colorado buy from Royal Farm/Royal Crest (it’s the same dairy with two different names). Or, if you live in the Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas area, buy Braums. I’m sure there are other similar dairies in other parts of the country.

    Also, if you make your own yogurt, be sure to allow it to ferment for 24 hours. This will eliminate essentially all of the lactose.

  41. Paul Avatar

    ML: What about soy yogurt?

    Do some research on soy. It’s not the healthful option you may think it is.

  42. Paul Avatar

    Marge: “What about carrageenan? This is in all yogurt, ice cream etc.” 1) No it’s not. 2) If it’s really a problem, just make your own yogurt. Homemade yogurt is way better than store-bought.

  43. Cindy Avatar

    Good yogurt starts with good milk! Which type of milk to use (goat, cow, almond, coconut etc) is up to the person tasting the yogurt and making individual adjustments. Learn the how-to, and set off on an adventure of your own making. The how- to’s are on the web, in books and sometimes we learn from each other.
    Live- learn and be here now.

  44. Rose schonberger Avatar
    Rose schonberger

    I used to love stony field,s organic vanilla flavored yogurt sweetened with stevia but it was discontinued
    Why ?
    Now I buy faje which has 18 carbs
    I have t1D so less sugar is better

  45. K R DHOLE Avatar

    quite informative & useful article. keep on posting such articles

  46. Diane Achez-Bush Avatar
    Diane Achez-Bush

    I use the Bulgarian yoghurt

  47. Minal Avatar

    Great article to show drawback of easy, store bought yogurt that harm your body in a long run, instead of having good effect.
    In South East Asia people makes curd, which is a plain whole milk yogurt at home from centuries. After living in the US, I’ve figured out the excat thing that you’ve explained. It’s really easy to make plain yogurt or curd at home traditionally and I still make it at home.

  48. Ramanathan Avatar

    I am from India and we use home made plain yogurt only from whole milk. No sugar, no fruit.
    Fruit should not be mixed with yogurt according to ayurveda.

  49. John Avatar

    I am sorry but I am under the impression and it says on the containers that the fermentation with good bacteria is done after the pasteurization. Raw milk and raw milk yogurt is illegal in a lot of states this is the next best thing. I don’t understand this is the 2nd time Ive heard this about the pasteurizing killing the bacteria, well yeah then they add it back in. Its like reverse osmosis water with the good elements added back in also in my opinion the best thing we can get.

  50. June Morris Avatar
    June Morris

    Great information I’am a vegetarian have been for approximately 15 years for the past year mostly everything I eat gases me. It is so embarrassing Ii makes me not want to eat I started on probiotics 30 days ago I drink plenty of Alkaline water

  51. monica brosnan Avatar

    Dear Emma,

    I have been taking Zoton and other similar brands for about 10 years.

    Due to your help I am not taking these tablets anymore but as you suggested I take Apple cider in a glass of water regularly or lemon juice in a glass of water first thing in the morning after taking something to eat to line my stomach.
    In the morning I usually have a little discomfort in my oesophagus having slept for up to 7 hours.

    Please advise as to how much and how often I should take these two drinks. You asked me to inform you as to how I was getting on with your health suggestios for heartburn

    Kind wishes

    Monica Brosnan

  52. Mandy Miles Avatar
    Mandy Miles

    May I just say that i have long been a fan of the idea of raw milk, believing that the milk we buy from supermarket shelves is kind of ‘dead’ in terms of all the organisms that should be alive within it. However, in my local area, which is a farming area and you can get raw milk, there have been two cases from unrelated farms where a child has drunk raw milk and died. They are commercial farms supplying milk to be homogenised, so they are tested etc. The legal cases are being run now. It makes me wonder if children have a susceptibility to raw milk that perhaps adults don’t. Worth being aware of when making decisions about using raw milk in your household.

  53. Athar Mahmood Avatar
    Athar Mahmood

    Thank you wonderful information

  54. Catharina Avatar

    I grew up in Sweden drinking just milked milk every day from age 10 to 20. My whole family drank it too. Nobody got sick everybody was very healthy. My grandmother used to make her own yoghurt. Delicious ! Will start making my own yoghurt after reading this. My husband is diabetic and loves yoghurt,but its to sugary.

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