ZeroPoint Cheat Sheet: Dairy & Dairy Alternatives

Our nutrition team answers your questions.

Yogurt is versatile, delicious, and, when it’s unsweetened and nonfat, a smoothly satisfying ZeroPoint™ food. But what about if you put it into a smoothie? Here are some quick ZeroPoint guidelines: 


How do I know if something is a ZeroPoint food or not? 
The following ARE ZeroPoint foods:

  • Non-fat yogurt, any type (e.g. Greek, plain, Skyrr) with no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavoring of any kind, or added fat.

  • Yogurt, soy, plain

The following are NOT ZeroPoint foods:

  • All dairy or non-dairy beverages (including yogurt beverages even if non-fat and plain

  • Frozen yogurt

  • Cottage cheese

  • Curd

  • All cheese whether soft, semi-soft or hard

  •  Any non-plain soy yogurts and beverages 

  • Other non-dairy yogurts (coconut, almond, etc)

  • Non-dairy beverages (such as soy, coconut, or almond milk or water)


Why is nonfat milk not included? It has a similar nutrition profile to nonfat unsweetened yogurt.

Research shows that liquids don’t promote the same feeling of fullness as solid foods do.1  When you drink something, it eliminates the act of chewing which may impact the signals between the belly and brain. This means that the smoothie or juice you’re drinking may not promote the same amount of fullness between meals as eating the fruit might. Therefore, we require beverages be tracked while nonfat unsweetened yogurt can be 0. 

 

Aren’t dairy products off the table for those who are lactose intolerant?

The dairy group contributes protein and carbohydrates, and many vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D (in products fortified with vitamin D), riboflavin, vitamin B, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium. Fat-free varieties provide the same nutrients but with less saturated fat and calories. For that reason, we want to encourage you to eat them. Soy yogurt and lactose-free yogurts are available for those who cannot eat dairy.
 

If I add honey or other sweeteners to nonfat yogurt, is it still a ZeroPoint food?

No. Yogurts that are sold with sweetener or flavoring can be easier to overeat. That’s why they’re not designated as a ZeroPoint food, and why we recommend you track them.

If you add ingredients to it like honey, granola, nuts, or dried fruit to nonfat yogurt, you should track those ingredients. If you add ZeroPoint ingredients, that yogurt would still be a ZeroPoint food. 
 

Why is nonfat unsweetened yogurt a ZeroPoint food but not cottage cheese and other soft white cheeses?

The only ZeroPoint food in the dairy category is nonfat unsweetened yogurt. Cottage cheese and other soft cheeses aren’t included on the ZeroPoint food list because they’re higher in calories (and sometimes fat) than plain yogurt. 
 

If ice, nonfat unsweetened yogurt, and fruit are blended into a smoothie, would it be considered a ZeroPoint food? 

No. This is a smoothie so all ingredients would be counted.

 

Go back to all ZeroPoint cheat sheets
 

1. Cassady BA, Considine RV, Mattes RD. Beverage consumption, appetite, and energy intake: what did you expect? Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:587-93.

2. Migquel-Kergoat S, Axais-Braesco V, Burton-Freeman B, Hetherington MM. Effects of chewing on appetite, food intake and gut hormones: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Physiol Behav 2015;151:88-96.