Yogurt Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

yogurt

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

If you're a healthy eater, you probably have yogurt in your refrigerator. The dairy food provides nutritional benefits especially for people who are looking to boost gastrointestinal health, trying to lose weight or improve their health. But some brands of yogurt can be high in sugar, fat, and calories depending on the type that you buy. Compare yogurt nutrition and yogurt calories to choose the right product for your diet.

Yogurt Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (8 ounces or 235g) of plain whole milk yogurt.

  • Calories: 149
  • Fat: 8g
  • Sodium: 113mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11.4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 11.4g
  • Protein: 8.5g
  • Phosphorus: 233mg
  • Calcium: 296mg
  • Riboflavin: 0.34mg

Carbs

A single cup of plain whole milk yogurt contains approximately 11.4 grams of carbohydrates. Of course, the carbohydrate count will vary depending on the type of milk and flavor used in a yogurt, but largely the carbohydrate makeup comes from the natural sugars found in yogurt.

Fats

In one serving of plain whole milk yogurt, you can expect about 8 grams of fats. Swap to a low-fat yogurt or a skim milk-based yogurt for a lower fat count.

Protein

Alongside other dairy-based foods, yogurt is a good source of protein. One cup brings 8.5 grams of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Plain yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and is high in phosphorus and riboflavin. But it also provides more naturally-occurring sugar (from lactose) and saturated fat than most people would expect to find in a "healthy" food.

Calories

There are approximately 149 calories in one cup of plain whole milk yogurt. Of course, the calorie count will ultimately differ if the yogurt has additional fruit or toppings, or is made from a different milk.

If you are buying yogurt to include in your healthy diet, always remember to check the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list. Some yogurt products contain just a few ingredients like milk and fruit, but others may contain quite a bit of added sugar, corn syrup, and other ingredients like corn starch or gelatin that increase the calorie count.

And if you are comparing the calorie count of yogurt, be sure that the containers you are evaluating are the same size. Some yogurt products are lower in calories simply because the package is smaller.

Here's how some of the popular brands of plain yogurt stack up per serving.

  • Fage Plain Nonfat Yogurt: 90 calories, 5g carbohydrate, 18g protein, 5g sugar
  • Yoplait Plain Nonfat Yogurt: 130 calories, 20g carbohydrate, 12g protein, 13g sugar
  • siggi's Plain Nonfat Yogurt: 130 calories, 10g carbohydrate, 25g protein, 7g sugar
  • Dannon Plain Nonfat Yogurt: 120 calories, 18g carbohydrate, 10g protein, 15g sugar

Health Benefits

Helps You Feel Satiated

Foods that contain protein promote "satiety" or fullness. So if you eat yogurt for breakfast or lunch, you may not be as likely to get hunger cravings shortly after your meal.

Aids in Building Muscle

The protein in traditional or Greek yogurt can also help your body to build and maintain muscle. Recent studies have shown that Greek yogurt can help in boosting strength and muscle, as well as improving body composition when consumed post-exercise.

Improves Bone Strength

Yogurt is also a good way to boost your calcium intake, especially if you are a non-milk drinker. Calcium helps to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and famously, helps maintain strong bones. The National Institutes of Health recommends adults consume at least 1,000mg calcium per day.

May Aid in Weight Loss

Lastly, consumers often buy yogurt in single serving cups, which makes eating the right portion size easy. For that reason, yogurt cups are popular with people who are trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

Low-fat and non-fat yogurt is likely to have fewer calories, but there is also some evidence that full fat dairy can also be included in a successful weight loss program.

Boosts Gut Health

Thanks to its probiotic properties, yogurt has long been recognized as a gut-friendly food. Studies have confirmed that adding dairy yogurt to your diet can help reduce fat and support your gut microbiome, which is critical in a healthy gut and digestive system.

However, it's important to note that probiotics differ by brand. While more research is needed on the role of probiotics on health, some yogurt brands like Activia advertise probiotics in their products. Not all yogurt has probiotics, so if you're looking to get probiotics from yogurt be sure to read the nutrition label and ingredient list to make sure that it contains "live active cultures."

Finally, remember that there are multiple strains of bacteria that can be added, so not each brand will have the same kind.

Allergies

If you are lactose intolerant, it's best to avoid yogurt. Depending on the variety — as well as the milk — you may experience a reaction to the yogurt, which can present bloating, indigestion, vomiting, or diarrhea symptoms.

Varieties

Plain yogurt is simply yogurt that contains no added fruit, flavoring, or added sugars. However, you can find many different varieties of yogurt — from low-fat to full-fat — and made from different milks. In recent years, manufacturers have produced cashew milk yogurt, almond milk yogurt, and even skyr (or Icelandic yogurt).

Greek yogurt is another popular option for healthy eaters. Greek yogurt is thicker and less sweet than traditional yogurt. The product is strained to remove much of the sugar, lactose and liquid whey. As a result, some brands of Greek yogurt have less sugar and more protein than traditional versions of yogurt.

So how does Greek yogurt nutrition compare to traditional yogurt? Greek yogurt calories are usually about the same. Fage Total 2% Plain Yogurt provides 150 calories, 4 grams of fat and 20 grams of protein. It also provides eight grams of sugar.

When It’s Best

Yogurt is available year-round at grocery stores, so you'll be able to select your favorite variety at any time of year.

Storage and Food Safety

When you store yogurt at home, keep it refrigerated and tightly sealed. Yogurt can be frozen, but it may separate and have a different texture when it is thawed.

How to Prepare

Yogurt is a great snack all by itself. But you can also add toppings or other ingredients to make it a meal. Try any of these ideas.

  • Use a yogurt-based dressing as a dip for savory crunchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, jicama, or celery.
  • Top yogurt with fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or melon to satisfy your sweet tooth
  • Sprinkle yogurt with nuts such as almonds or walnuts, or with seeds such as flax seeds for crunch and flavor
  • Drizzle plain yogurt with honey for a burst of sweetness
  • Season with cinnamon, vanilla or your favorite extract to get flavor without adding calories
  • Make a creamy, rich dessert by mixing dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs into vanilla, coconut or coffee flavored yogurt.
  • Add yogurt to your blender when making a healthy smoothie for a creamier consistency.
  • Make a yogurt parfait by layering oats, fruit and vanilla yogurt

9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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