Yogurt has been a regular staple in my diet for as long as I can remember. When I discovered my MSG allergy in early 2014, one of the first things I removed from my diet was yogurt, which was an extremely difficult thing to do, as my breakfast was usually either yogurt with granola or oatmeal.
My early research told me to eliminate yogurt from my diet because of protein. So I did. But I found that my digestive system was really paying the price for that decision. Surely there had to be a brand or two of yogurt that was safe for me to eat.
Yes there was. But I really had to look carefully.
Many of the better yogurt brands on the market offer “clean” ingredients — namely, no artificial sweeteners, artificial flavorings or preservatives. Lets for a moment, take a look at the ingredients in many of the most popular yogurts on the market today.
Yoplait Greek Yogurt: (Ingredients – Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sugar, Kosher Gelatin, Pectin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Locust Bean Gum, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.) Red Flags: Any added protein to a food product can trigger MSG allergy symptoms. Gelatin is also linked to MSG allergy. Non-fat dairy should also be avoided with an MSG allergy. Gums are also known to cause MSG allergy reactions. ANY kind of flavoring is also linked to MSG allergies. The other thing to note is that if Gelatin, Pectin and Locust Bean Gum are included, this product is NOT authentic Greek yogurt.
Chobani Greek Yogurt: Lowfat Yogurt (Ingredients – Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Cream, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei), Apricots, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pectin, Locust Bean Gum, Natural Flavor.) Red Flags: Locust Bean Gum, Pectin. Again, if Gums and Pectin are present, the product is NOT authentic Greek yogurt.
FAGE Total Greek Yogurt: (Ingredients – Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Live Active Yogurt Cultures) This is a pure, clean yogurt and the only one I eat. I pair mine with pure Grade A honey or fresh fruit and organic granola. FAGE’s yogurt comes in Total (Whole Milk), 2% Milk and 0%. I often switch between Total and 2%. One of the many wonderful things about FAGE is its versatility — it can be used wonderfully in smoothies and as a base in many different recipes, including dips and Indian dishes. It’s also gluten-free and great if you’re a vegetarian. Two thumbs up for this authentic Greek yogurt!
Wallaby Plain Organic Yogurt: (Ingredients – Organic Cultured Pasteurized Reduced Fat Milk, Live active cultures – L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, bifidus.) This brand is another winner. When you just want your yogurt to be, well, yogurt. Clean ingredients for an outstanding yogurt choice.
Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt: (Ingredients – Cultured Grade A Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Fruit, Water, Modified Food Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Fruit Juice and Vegetable Juice, Calcium Citrate, Malic Acid, Vitamin D3, Sodium Citrate, Live Yogurt Cultures.) I still enjoy this “old school” brand of yogurt from time to time. I haven’t had any negative reaction to it at all. Though I’m annoyed by the inclusion of Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid and Modified Food Starch. I will eat this brand only if it’s on sale or if it’s all that’s available.
Dannon Light and Fit Greek Non-Fat Yogurt: (Ingredients: Cultured Grade A Non-Fat Milk, Water, Fructose, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Acesulfame Potassium, Sodium Citrate, Active Yogurt Cultures.) I don’t even need to tell you what is wrong with this product. Aside from the fact that it’s not pure Greek yogurt, the ingredients in it that are quite frankly, terrifying. Note that when I discovered my MSG allergy, this was one of two yogurts I regularly ate at the time.
Dannon Activia: (Ingredients – Cultured Grade A Reduced Fat Milk, Sugar, Fruit, Water, Fructose, Modified Food Starch, Milk Protein Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Kosher Gelatin, Agar, Agar, Carageenan, Calcium Lactate, Caramel Color, Xanthan Gum, Malic Acid, Carmine (For Color), Vitamin D3, Socium Citrate, Live Active Yogurt Cultures.) The beautiful Jamie Lee Curtis, the pitchwoman for this brand may love it but, I don’t even need to tell you why this product should be avoided by anyone with an MSG allergy. Sure you may improve your digestion, but all of the MSG allergy triggering ingredients will make it a hollow victory. Carrageenan in yogurt?! Oh hell no! If you have an MSG allergy and are eating Activia, stop!
Yoplait Original: (Ingredients – Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Fruit, Modified Corn Starch, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Colored with Carmine, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Vitamin A, Acetate, Vitamin D3 Live and Active Cultures.) Red flags: Corn products can trigger MSG allergic reactions in some people. Also, nonfat milk is a no-no for anyone with an MSG allergy, as is coloring and flavoring – even if they call it “natural.” This is the second of two brands I enjoyed around the time I discovered my MSG allergy, though not as often. Just way too many additives and remember, so called “natural” flavor and any added coloring means MSG is present. This particular brand is always on sale for 99 cents each where I shop, and sometimes 2 for $1. That should’ve been my first clue to leave it alone.
Dannon Oikos Triple Zero: (Ingredients – Cultured Grade A Non Fat Milk, Chicory Root Fiber, Water, Contains Less Than 1% of Sea Salt, Malic Acid, Vitamin D3, Sodium Citrate, Active Yogurt Cultures.) I wouldn’t consider this an authentic Greek yogurt with all of the additives. Skip it and opt for Fage or Wallaby instead.
So, while you can have yogurt in your diet with an MSG allergy, it’s important that you limit yourself to brands with the cleanest ingredients. There is a lot of pure garbage in the dairy aisle being passed off as healthy. Always read your labels.
Knowledge is power!
NEXT: Lactose Intolerant or Allergic to MSG?