Low-fat yogurt isn't as healthy as you think. Here's why

Yogurt is a cultured milk product with many health benefits, including being a quick and easy source of protein, calcium, probiotics, and potassium (via Dairy Council of California). The origins of yogurt are largely unknown, but mentions of yogurt in India date back as far as 6,000 B.C., according to Matador Network. The U.S. wasn't introduced to yogurt until Dannon came on the scene in the mid-1900s. Now, the U.S. yogurt market tops $7 billion.

Modern grocery aisles have been known to carry more than 300 varieties of yogurt in America, according to Eater, making choosing a yogurt difficult for many consumers. Some of the yogurt styles currently available include low-fat, whole milk, plain, Greek, coconut, frozen, Icelandic, non-dairy, soy, and European (via Tea & Breakfast). Low-fat yogurt and fat-free yogurt may seem like a good idea if you're trying to be healthier or lose weight, but they may actually be worse for you.

Why to avoid eating low-fat yogurt

We get it — many of the fun flavors tend to be offered in the fat-free and low-fat yogurt varieties. But these yogurts also have more sugar and less protein than their full-fat yogurt counterparts. Nearly half of the yogurt purchased in the first quarter of 2018 in the U.S. was low-fat yogurt, according to Statista. However, multiple scientific studies have found that full-fat dairy products, such as regular yogurt and cheese, may, in fact, protect against cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (via National Center for Biotechnology Information).

All yogurts, even plain yogurts, will have some natural sugar produced from the milk (via LiveStrong). Where flavored low-fat yogurt goes wrong is with the amount of added sugar it contains. We've all been tricked with hidden sugar, but some yogurts (even the non-fat version) are guilty of containing up to 19 grams of added sugar, according to MyNetDiary. If you're going to do that, you may as well eat a candy bar, right? So, next time your weighing your low-fat yogurt options, choose a plain, full-fat yogurt, and top it with your own creative mix of fruits. Your body will thank you.