Dairy Case Junk Food 2/27/15

What to avoid in the dairy case if you're watching your weight

The dairy case is bulging with new products that seem like tasty ways to get more protein, calcium, and other nutrients into your diet. But Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine says that many are just surprise junk foods.

Dairy foods can pack a lot of sugar, both natural and added. They can also be high in sodium. Take cheese sticks. You might consider the calcium a bonus, but most average almost 200 milligrams of sodium per stick—that’s more than you’ll find in a 1-ounce bag of potato chips. A glass of skim milk will have as much or more calcium and vitamin D, with about half the sodium.

You might get a protein boost from YoCrunch yogurt with granola, but you’ll also get 25 grams of sugar in each 6-ounce serving. The much smaller Stonyfield Organic YoKids Squeezers and Yoplait Go-Gurts still pack 9 grams of sugar per serving. Consumer Reports says that you’re better off choosing Siggi’s Icelandic-Style Yogurt Tubes, which have only 6 grams of sugar.

Dips made with Greek yogurt might be better than the fat-laden, sour-cream variety, but don’t think you’re dipping into pure, healthy yogurt. Salty seasonings in the Heluva Good French Onion Greek Yogurt Dip drive the sodium content of a 2-tablespoon serving beyond what you’d get in a small bag of McDonald’s french fries! Smarter choices include two Greek Yogurt Dips from Sabra: Mediterranean Herb and Tzatziki.

Also look closely at drinkable yogurts and smoothies. Many offer calcium and gut-friendly probiotic bacteria, but they can be just as bad as candy and soda when it comes to calories and sugar levels. Instead, look out for low-fat versions and choose plain over sugary fruit flavors.

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