Yoghurt contains more sugar than soft drinks

Ben Davidson
September 21, 2018

Researchers analyzed more than 900 yogurt brands found in United Kingdom supermarkets and found that only 9% can be classed as low in sugar, containing less than five grams of sugar per 100 grams, while just 2% of children's yogurts are low in sugar.

"Items labelled organic are often thought of as the "healthiest" option, but they may be an unrecognised source of added sugar in many people's diet".

Researchers at Leeds University in the United Kingdom, headed by nutritionist Doctor Bernadette Moore, who published the research in the British medical journal, analysed 921 yogurts available in large British supermarkets. Less than one in 10 (9%) qualified as low sugar products and nearly none of which were in the children's category. And yogurts marketed toward children also had very high sugar, 10.8 grams.

So unless it's using artificial sweeteners, if your yogurt tastes sweet, it's probably because there's sugar in it.

They found that nearly all yogurts contain large amounts of sugar.

A source of probiotic cultures, protein, calcium, iodine, and vitamin B12, yogurt is frequently recommended as a part of a healthy diet.

The paper noted that many adults and children might eat yoghurt thinking it's a health food, when it could be an "unrecognised source" of added sugar.

The evidence suggests that yogurt and other fermented dairy products aid digestive and overall health. The median sugar content for organic yogurts was 13.1 grams per 100 gram serving, and some brands had nearly 17 grams of sugar per 100 gram serving.

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The only exception was with natural, Greek and "Greek-style" yogurts.

A typical yoghurt contained more than half an adults daily recommended sugar allowance.

The survey examined the sugar and nutrient content of yogurts across eight product categories.

This is "concerning" given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, the researchers said.

Most hazardous was the dessert yogurts.

According to the study, only natural and Greek yogurts fell below the advised 5g of sugar per 100g recommended by European Union regulations, while the study found that organic varieties, often viewed as healthier options on average contain around 13.1g of sugar per 100g. Yogurt is one of the products identified and highlighted for a 20% reduction of sugar by 2020. And experts say those sugars can add up quickly. One Yoplait yogurt, marketed with Disney's popular Frozen characters on it, contains 13 grams of sugar in a 113 gram serving.

While natural/Greek yogurts contained the least amount of sugars, their median total sugar content (5.0g/100g, largely lactose) was still markedly higher than the allowance of naturally occurring sugars agreed by Public Health England of 3.8g/100g.

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