logo for vegan-weight-loss.com

LEFT for vegan-weight-loss.com

When people go vegan, they often switch from dairy yogurt to soy yogurt

Soy yogurt is a popular diet lunch for vegans. It seems to be low in calories. It comes in its own container and you just have to remove the lid and eat. The ads say it contains bacteria that are good for our digestive tract. It is creamy and cold and sweet. When frozen, it tastes a lot like ice cream......

Is soy yogurt fattening?

Or is it a good food for weight loss?

Is it healthful?

Let's look at the ingredients closely.

If you don't know much about nutrition, here is a quick course in how to read nutrition labels.

Once you know how to read labels, you can easily choose healthful products that are good for weight loss.

Silk Live!

soy yogurt 3

Silk is a popular brand of soy milk. Let's look at their entry into the soy yogurt market.

soy yogurt label1
This key lime flavored yogurt contains 20 fat calories out of 150 calories. That makes it 13% fat, which is a good percentage for weight loss. The ideal is 10% fat.

There are only 25 mg of sodium in 150 calories, which is excellent. Up to 150 mg would be OK.

A serving contains only 1 g of fiber. Not too good, but better than dairy yogurt, which has none.
soy yogurt label 2

Are the ingredients mainly whole plant foods? The ingredients, in order, are:
  • soy milk (water, soybeans)
  • evaporated cane juice (sugar)
  • rice starch
  • natural flavors
  • dextrose (more sugar)
  • tricalcium phosphate
  • lime juice concentrate
  • cultured glucose syrup solids (even more sugar)
  • citric acid
  • pectin
  • locust bean gum
  • ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
  • turmeric (for color)
  • key lime extract
  • yogurt cultures
Soybeans are the only whole plant food on the list. Since whole soybeans are naturally 40% fat, our first question is: how did they manage to get the fat content down to 13% of calories with whole soybeans at the top of the ingredient list?

Here's how: they added three different kinds of sugar, a total of 21 grams of the stuff. That equals 84 calories from sugar, or 5 teaspoons of sugar in this tiny 6 oz container. This product is 49% sugar. For effective weight loss, we want to have high levels of plant nutrients in everything we eat. We can't afford to eat foods that are half sugar.  

Except for the three sugars, the rest of the ingredients are relatively harmless. The most suspicious one is the natural flavors, because these are usually processed far past the "natural" stage. The tricalcium phosphate is added to make the calcium level match that of dairy yogurt. We would rather get our calcium from plant foods like kale and broccoli.

We appreciate the fact that there is no oil, artificial coloring, or carrageenan in this product. But let's try to find a brand that contains less sugar.

Whole Soy & Co. Cherry

soy yogurt

Here is a cherry-flavored soy yogurt made by a different company. Let's look at their label.

soy yogurt ingredients
This yogurt contains 25 fat calories out of 170 calories. It is 14.7% fat. Not bad.

There are only 20 mg of sodium in 170 calories. Terrific.

There are 2 grams of fiber in a serving. That is a little better than the previous product.
soy yogurt ingredients 2
Here are the ingredients:
  • soybeans
  • evaporated cane juice (sugar)
  • cherries
  • cornstarch
  • rice starch
  • natural flavors
  • lactic acid
  • red cabbage
  • tricalcium phosphate
  • live active cultures

Unfortunately, this product is loaded with sugar too. There are 19 g of added sugar, or about 4 1/2 teaspoons. That means 73 calories, or 43% of the total calories, come from sugar. Let's look at the rest of the label.

Since the cherries are third on the list, there are less cherries by weight than sugar. There might be 2 Tbsp of cherries in this container.

The vegetable-source lactic acid might be there to ferment the cornstarch and rice starch, or maybe it is a natural byproduct of the live active cultures. Who knows?

The red cabbage adds color. Much better than a carcinogenic red dye.

This product could be acceptable if it were unsweetened. Let's keep looking.

Whole Soy & Co. Plain

soy yogurt 2

Whole Soy & Co. also makes a plain soy yogurt.  How does it rate?

soy yogurt labelThere are 45 fat calories out of 210. It is 21% fat. This could be a good sign if it means there is less sugar.

Only 30 mg of sodium in 210 calories. Perfect.

There are 3 grams of fiber in a one cup serving. Very good.

And now for the bad news. There are 15 g of sugar in a serving. That means 60 calories from sugar out of 210, or about 29% sugar. This is a little better than the other two products, but just not good enough.

soy yogurt ingredients
Now for the rest of the ingredients. We see many of the same items that were in the other two products.

Why are we so eager to eat vegan copies of unhealthy animal foods? These products do contain good cultures, but they are still processed foods. Little cups of sugar, starches and natural flavors don't grow on trees.

Maybe it is possible to create soy yogurt from whole foods. We want to see one that contains only water, soybeans, fruit, and yogurt culture. Until that day, our lunch will be a baked sweet potato or some raw veggies with bean dip.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave us a comment in the box below.

footer for vegan weight loss page