Healthwatch: Most Yogurts Have Deceptively High Sugar Levels

Laverne Higgins
September 22, 2018

(This is the system now used for food traffic-light labelling in the UK.) The sugar content of most types of yogurt was well above the recommended threshold, with children's and organic yogurt being among the highest. And yogurts marketed toward children also had very high sugar, 10.8 grams.

"Items labelled "organic" are often thought of as the 'healthiest" option, but they may be an unrecognised source of added sugars in many people's diet. "Our study highlights the challenges and mixed messages that come from the marketing and packaging of yogurt products.' Her team looked at 921 yogurts available in British supermarkets in November 2016 and found only 9 per cent had less than 5 per cent sugar - the threshold for being classed 'low sugar" with a green 'traffic light" nutritional label.

The total average sugars included in organic yoghurt was 13.1g per 100g and in childrens yoghurts it was 10.8.

The Leeds University-led research found that organic yoghurts were among the most sugary types - containing more sugar per 100g than cola.

United Kingdom and U.S. dietary guidelines recommend low fat and low sugar dairy products, and the researchers wanted to assess how far yogurt products, particularly those marketed to children, meet these guidelines.

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The NHS recommends that adults not exceed 30 grams of free sugar - defined as sugar added to or naturally found in foods - each day, while parents are encouraged not to give children under 4 foods with added sugar. But, with the exception of natural/Greek yogurts, the average sugar content of products in all the categories was well above the recommended sugar threshold.

It's important to note that food labels in the United Kingdom report nutritional contents differently than in the U.S. Every component is based on a standard 100 gram portion rather than the classic U.S. This is "concerning", given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, say the researchers. "I did not know that the yogurt I was giving my child had [so much] added sugar in it", Moore said in a statement to ABC News.

Nearly all yogurts sold by supermarkets contain "well above" a healthy amount of sugar, a damning study reveals.

"Not all yogurts are as healthy as perhaps consumers perceive them, and reformulation for the reduction of free sugars is warranted".

Yogurt is often regarded as a healthy snack but a new study finds that most yogurts on store shelves are chock-full of sugar. One study showed that given the choice, people inadvertently added an average of 13.6 grams of sugar to their yogurt with things like honey and jams. Moore advocates for more transparent food labeling, and changes from the yogurt industry itself.

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