For years, yogurt has been one of those go-to foods that we consider “healthy”. And with breakfast foods like smoothie bowls and parfaits gaining popularity, there’s no secret it has become a favorite in many households. But what you may not know about yogurt is that it often contains hidden sugar. This raises an important question: Is yogurt actually good for us?
The upside of yogurt:
There is plenty of evidence suggesting that yogurt and other fermented dairy products aid in digestion and improve overall health. As a good source of ‘friendly’ bacteria, dairy products also contain protein, calcium, iodine and vitamin b.
But according to this UK study, fewer than one in ten brands of yogurt qualify as “low sugar”. This is concerning, especially since yogurt is often marketed to children. The research shows that yogurt-based desserts contain the most amount of sugar, at an average of 16.4 g/100.
Total average sugars ranged anywhere between 10.8g/100 g in children’s products to 13.1 g/100 g in organic products. As a comparison, natural greek yogurt typically contains 5g of sugar per 100 g serving.
Hidden sugar is common in many yogurt brands
“While yogurt may be less of a concern than soft drinks and fruit juices (the chief sources of free sugars in both children and adults’ diets), what is worrisome here is that yogurt as a perceived ‘healthy food’ may actually be an unrecognized source of added sugars in the diet.”
This was particularly true of the organic yogurts analyzed in the study. “While the organic label refers to production, the well documented ‘health-halo effect’ means that consumers often underestimate the caloric content and perceive the nutritional contents of organic products (including yogurts) more favourably.”
What we learned from this study:
“Not all yogurts are as healthy as perhaps consumers perceive them to be. Therefore, formulation for the reduction of free sugars is warranted.”
We investigated a few supermarket brands on our own to find out how they compare and which ones contained the least amount of sugar:
Not ready to give up on yogurt just yet? Here is what we recommend:
- Choose organic, full-fat (2 %). When fat is removed, sugar is typically added for flavour.
- Choose plain, non-fat greek yogurt. Greek yogurt tends to be higher in protein which will keep you fuller longer.
- Avoid any yogurt that has fruit or flavour. These typically contain high amounts of sugar.
- If you require some sweetness, top with 1/2 cup of berries or 1 tsp of no sugar-added jam. When you add your own, you can control the amount.The daily recommendation of added sugar for women is 6-8 tsp per day. The equates to no more than 32 g.