Fat in Food: Cream Top, Fat Bottom

Fat has found its way back to the yogurt aisle. Look for code words like “indulgently silky” (Liberté Méditerranée), “traditional” (The Greek Gods), “authentic” (Fage Total), “reminiscent of the old days” (Brown Cow Cream Top), and “hand-crafted” (Noosa).


The buzzwords are warm and fuzzy, but the yogurt is made from whole milk or whole milk plus cream. That means some 170 to 250 calories and 5 to 10 grams of saturated fat in a 6 oz. serving.

What’s more, Brown Cow Cream Top Greek and The Greek Gods have about half the protein of other greeks. That’s because neither is strained, and cream has less protein than milk.

With so many creamy 0% greeks (or icelandics) out there with roughly half the calories, going “indulgent” seems like a lose-lose.


Other relevant links:

64 Replies to “Fat in Food: Cream Top, Fat Bottom”

    1. I think some of you have missed the point. Yes, full fat dairy (ie. yogurt made from whole milk ) is great and a whole food, so to speak. Cream on the othe other hand is added to some of these ‘indulgent yogurts’. Cream is not a whole food just as skim is technically not a whole food. The author pointed out that the protei was lower in these yogurts and the fat was considerably higher. It made no mention of comparing sugar. Go for plain regular fat yogurt but added cream is not regular fat. .

  1. The whole dairy product yogurts (without additives) are healthier to eat than the ones that are loaded with sugars. They also stick with you better. Today’s research is showing more links between sugar and disease than with fat and disease. Even saturated fat!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Jo. When they remove the fat they need to replace it with sugar and other additives to make it taste good. As part of a healthy breakfast, 170-250 calories does not seem extreme. And I’ll take my chances with the saturated fat over the sugar and additives any day! And if the milk is from grass fed cows, the fat is even healthier.

      1. I agree with many of the comments above: Terri, Jo. Steve, Eveliina. Nutrition Action would better serve us if you would speak more to the comments regarding the “fat myth” especially since sugars and other stuff (such as inulin) is added to make the product thick and “taste better”.

    2. True, but you can also buy delicious yogurts that are low fat and have no added sugar. Try Fage 2 percent. Creamy and indulgent.

      1. Thanks but I will opt for Fage Total made with the whole milk, a whole food the way God intended.

      2. Fage 0 Fat is WONDERFUL! You don’t need the fat, folks, honestly! This is also a GREAT substitute for sour cream of ANY fat / fat free variety. YUM!

  2. Read Nourishing Traditions if you want to understand why whole-fat yogurt is good for you. The “fat-free” mania in this country is one of the great contributing factors to obesity.





      1. I buy the big container of Nonfat plain greek yougurt. then i scoop it out into little containers (about 6 oz) and add i packet of no calorie sweetner to each one- a little cinnamon, and some fruit- just like a couple strawberries each cut up is plenty(or split a peach 6 ways). then you have about 100 calorie snack that is mostly protien. (make sure the yougurt is strained like Fage, some of them like Greek Gods add thickeners instead of straining- so there is not as much protien)

      2. Fat does not cause heart disease so I would recommend you only eat whole milk yogurt. Plain is best because it will have the least amount of sugar.

      3. Yes I agree . I buy only whole milk yogurt and add fresh fruit every morning. If it is a little to bland I add 1/2 pkg Stevia in the raw. It is the only one that is not a sugar substitute. Great flavor no calories added.

    2. The “fat free mania” is only bad when sugars are added to “make up for” the perceived lack of flavor without the fat.

      Plain Fage 0% Fat is incredibly tasty (no, it’s not sweet), very high in healthy protein, very low in sugars, and just plain VERY GOOD, period! For some, it might be an acquired taste. So, acquire it, already!

  3. I totally agree with Jo. I do not drink milk unless it’s whole milk. You need fat, not sugar. I love Noosa. Delish.

    1. You say you don’t like a lot of sugar but then you endorse Noosa which has tons of sugar. Not sure if you have read the label.

  4. I make my own yogurt: one quart no-fat or 1% milk, sometimes 2% milk,
    1/2 cup dry milk and a pack of yogurt starter. Nothing else and it tastes good. The starter and dry milk come from King Arthur Flour. My yogurt maker is from Donvier. I feel quite virtuous! But I do bypass the yogurt section in the grocery store.

    1. Yes, I TOTALLY agree. Best yogurt ever! Takes some effort to make, but still easy when using a electric yogurt maker.

  5. To prevent textural defects in low-fat and fat-free yogurts, artificial fat substitutes are routinely added to milk. The nonfat yogurt is made from non fat milk (with a high percentage of milk sugar) by adding modified food starch and fructose (fruit sugar) among other things. Then, usually, they add some natural and artificial flavors, some preservatives and coloring and different artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame K or/and sucralose).
    No natural fat… but lots of added sugar, starch and sweeteners. If you want to stay fit then stay away from this garbage. It may turn you into an obese sugar junkie, just like cigarettes may give you cancer.
    And the brand you have in the picture is awesome!

  6. 2% greek yogurts are valuable as well, I don’t think always think fat free is best!

    Frequency is key as well. If the only saturated fat you’re having is in yogurt once a day, one could do much worse!

  7. When I shop for yogurts, I read the labels. Fat content and sugar content are extremely important to me and these yogurts that have 11 grams of sugar and higher stay on the shelf. Fat content is the same. LABELS! LABELS! LABELS!

  8. Children, especially, need fat in their diet (and less sugar). I’d love to see more information on this debate.

    1. Children should consume full-fat milk while their bodies develop, then switch to 2%, 1% and finally, skim.

      The only other fats they should be consuming are the minimal healthy ones that you cook their foods in, and toss into their salads.

  9. Yes, full-fat yogurt made with whole milk should not be lumped together with sugar-added ones – they can’t possibly have the same effect on our bodies. Same with milk. I understand that the lower calorie versions would appeal to people trying to lose weight, but the high-calorie options should not be labeled as ‘unhealthy’ for this reason.

  10. Count me as one who also agrees with Jo and the reason is spelled out in Nourishing Teaditions by Sally Fallon.

  11. When I buy yogurt I look for low fat, not more than 2%, high protein, above 20%, low sugar, less than 5 grams, probiotic content and creamy taste. I use yogurt on hot oatmeal or cold cereal almost every morning. I also have a spoonful of yogurt before bedtime. It tends to soothe my stomach.

  12. I’ll give up my Noosa when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. It’s an additive-free, rGBH-free, delicious, un-strained (read: not insanely waste-producing like strained Greek yogurts) treat. And, no, my bottom is not fat, thank you very much.

  13. If you are going to have dairy it’s best to have whole milk dairy. Your body needs the fat to absorb all the nutrients. In my opinion dairy is not good, it’s not even a good source of calcium! There are vegetables that provide you with more calcium than milk and which your body can assimilate better. Also milk is a mayor source of constipation, specially in children. BUT we’re all different, if you like dairy, fine just don’t over do it. My advice eat in moderation. If you are going to have food have the real deal. People go for low fat or no fat, artificial sweeteners and what not so they can consume less calories and therefore eat more that does not work and the quality of food goes down.
    With your best health in mind, Connie

  14. Oh and about sugar you are all right in pointing out that sugar is bad. I think we are going to find that of all the bad food out there sugar is the culprit for most food related diseases. PLEASE take care of your children! It’s a battle with so many sugary options out there but you must limit their sugar intake so they can live a long and healthy life.
    When reading labels – 4 grms of sugar = 1 tsp

  15. As a person with sugar addiction and a weight problem all my life, I have come to agree with the observation the the obsession with fat has caused much of the obesity and type 2 diabetes increase problem in the recent years for several reasons: when they took fat out of food products they added sugars to try to improve taste; as they took the fat out the sugar hit the blood system faster because the fat wasn’t there to down it down; and the fat wasn’t there to provide satiety.

    1. Frozen yogurt is void of probiotics. It’s a novality item . Today their is much research on the microbiome (probiotics ). The science is cutting edge , but the more they understand the less they know!! To me what seems very clear-Eating fermented and cultured foods is very benificial for good health.
      Back to Fat ,it is our primary source of energy. Fat sugar , sugar fat, the body needs to move to reduce risk of these cronic diseases .

  16. I tend to agree with the article . . . non-fat greek yogurts taste great to me and many of them do not have the sugar or gums that some of the aforementioned posts mention.

    With respect to many of the comments around the need for fat . . . I don’t disagree. But personally I get plenty of fat in my diet already from sources that I have more difficult controlling (business lunches, etc.). Greek yogurt is one of the places in my diet where I can easily control/reduce my fat intake without worrying that the fat will be substituted with additives/sugar. For that reason, I always choose non-fat over “fat-full” yogurt.

    1. How do you know you are getting plenty of fat? If you are talking about trans fat, then by all means reduce or eliminate that. Yogurt only contains saturated fat which you probably need more of, so I would avoid the fat free version at all costs.

      1. Steve,

        How do I know that I’m getting plenty of fat? Simple . . . I calculate and track it. I find it odd that you would pass out nutritional advice saying that I should “avoid the fat free version at all costs.”

        You don’t know my diet, you don’t know my fat intake, you don’t know my resting metabolism, nor do you know my health . . . how can you give such advice to me without knowing anything about my diet and health? I must say that I find your prescribing advice without diagnosing condition to be disturbing to say the least…

  17. I received a link to this article in my email today titled “cream topm fat bottom” and I thought to myself “whoah, what a misunderstanding!” because I, like others who have commented, have also been educating myself about the benefits of eating more healthy fat and less sugar. It made me so happy to scroll down and read these wonderful responses from all you people who refuse to believe the hype about fat. Shame on you, Nutrition Action!

  18. The so called authorities continue to perpetuate “low fat” when it comes to yogurt, cheese, etc. In most instances when fat is replaced, it is done so with gums, sugar, carrageenan and other additives and preservatives which are much more deleterious in our diets. Traditional cultures subsisted on full fat greek yogurt, full fat milk, etc for thousands of years and lived long healthy lives. Read the work of Weston Price and understand the truth about “low fat”.

    1. Steve, those same traditional cultures worked their as_es off on a daily basis, which very, very few of us ever do.

  19. One thing going for full-fat Fage yoghurt is that a spoonful will keep you feeling full and contented for a long time.

  20. Hello,
    I thought the “low fat is the way” era was dead…but now i see it’s alive in NutritionAction? Strange.
    I agree with many of the other posters—when they take something out of yogurt they often replace it with stuff that is not good for you.

    1. Which is why it’s so important to read the label (thank you, Nutrition Action, for food labeling!), and not fall for the advertising hype! As a culture, we have yet to learn to be in control of our own nutritional destinies!

  21. A few years ago I was diagnosed with dietary fructose intolerance. I never buy presweetened yogurt, even the light has fructose added. I do buy 0 fat, plain chobani or trader joe’s greek yogurt because of the extra protein. I do not eat other fat free dairy product though. I have heard that even butter from grass fed cows is better for you. Does anyone know of a brand?

  22. Yogurt is naturally produced through fermentation of milk by lactic acid bacteria. The bacteria ferment the milk sugar (lactose), producing lactic acid which coagulates the proteins (curds)to form yogurt. The “Greek” process filters out the liquid (primarily whey), therefore concentrating the protein and calcium content of the solid curd. The most nutritious yogurts are those containing 0 or 1% fat and should contain little or no sugar unless it is added in the processing of the final product. Avoid all “flavored” products – add your own. fruit.

  23. Try Siggi’s Icelandic style plain yoghurt. It’s good & creamy & you may combine it with your own fruit sans additives.

  24. When I have purchased Brown Cow yogurt with cream on top, I remove the cream before eating. While I too make my own yogurt, I don’t always have time or it is way too hot in my apartment (80s with a fan & a window a/c) & I only use the microwave to cook. I buy yogurt, mostly Stonyfield Farms non or low-fat plain. So that puts my yogurt making on hold.

  25. Shirleen, I prefer Kerry Gold grass fed butter, which at Trader Joe’s goes for approx. $3 a package. You could also try purchasing some raw grass fed butter from your local farmer’s market as well.

  26. The low fat message is not aligned with current research on Saturated Fat. Thank you for helping me identify some possible new yogurt options – if the sugar is low enough. As always, I’ll check the label.

  27. Pingback: Med-Updates.com

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