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Yogurt Varieties

Yogurt products come in a wide variety of flavors, forms and textures. Here are the common terms associated with yogurt products available today. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established some of the definitions while others were determined by the manufacturers.

Lowfat and nonfat: There are three types of yogurt: regular yogurt, lowfat yogurt and nonfat yogurt. Yogurt made from whole milk has at least 3.25 percent milk fat. Lowfat yogurt is made from lowfat milk or part-skim milk and has between 2 and 0.5 percent milk fat. Nonfat yogurt is made from skim milk and contains less than 0.5 percent milk fat.

Lite (light) yogurt: 1/3 less calories or 50% reduction in fat than regular yogurt.

Swiss or custard: Fruit and yogurt are mixed together for individual servings. To ensure firmness or body, a stabilizer, such as gelatin, may be added. These products are also referred to as "blended" yogurt.

Frozen yogurt: Frozen yogurt is a non-standardized food and, therefore, is not subject to Federal composition standards, as is the case for “yogurt.” In order to qualify for NYA’s Live & Active Cultures seal, frozen yogurt must be a product made by fermenting pasteurized milk (can include skim milk and powdered skim milk, plus other ingredients), using traditional yogurt cultures, until the proper acidity is reached. Many manufacturers, according to their unique recipes, will then mix this (the "yogurt" component) with a pasteurized ice cream mix of milk, cream, and sugar, plus stabilizers or other ingredients needed for desired consistency. This frozen yogurt base mix can then be blended with fruit or other ingredients and then frozen. The freezing process does not kill any significant amount of the cultures—in fact, during the freezing process the cultures go into a dormant state, but when eaten and returned to a warm temperature within the body, they again become active and are capable of providing all the benefits of cultures in a refrigerated yogurt product.

Not all products termed "frozen yogurt" actually contain live and active cultures. Some so-called "frozen yogurts" use heat-treated yogurt, which kills the live and active cultures, or they may simply add in cultures to the mix along with acidifiers, and skip the fermentation step all together. To make sure that a frozen yogurt contains yogurt produced by traditional fermentation and has a significant amount of live and active cultures, look for the NYA Live & Active Cultures seal.

Contains active yogurt cultures: Yogurt labeled with this phrase contains the live and active bacteria thought to provide yogurt with its many desirable healthful properties. Look for the National Yogurt Association's (NYA) Live & Active Cultures seal to ensure that the yogurt you buy contains a significant amount of live and active cultures.

Heat-treated: Yogurt labeled with this phrase has been heated after culturing, thereby killing the beneficial live and active yogurt cultures.

Liquid or drinkable yogurt: Fruit and yogurt are blended into a drinkable liquid.

Made with active cultures: FDA regulations require that all yogurts be made with active cultures. Only those that are not heat-treated, however, retain live and active cultures when they reach consumers.

Sundae or fruit-on-the-bottom: Fruit is on the bottom, so that turned upside down, it looks like a sundae. Consumers can mix the fruit and yogurt together to make it smooth and creamy.