High sugar content makes supermarket yogurts an unhealthy choice

Just 2% of children's yogurts were low in sugar the study found

So in 2017 when the United Kingdom government announced the top nine food categories after sodas, juices, and smoothies that contribute to children's sugar intake, and yogurt made the list, it took Dr. J. Bernadette Moore, an associate professor at the University of Leeds' School of Food Science and Nutrition, aback. It also can contain live lactic-acid producing bacteria that falls under the category of "probiotic", lauded for its potential to improve digestive and other health.

Most yogurts have deceptively high levels of sugar, with organic yogurts among the worst offenders, according to a new study.

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

More than 90 percent of the surveyed products had a level of sugar which was well above the recommended threshold, the findings noted.

Yogurts found in a USA supermarket have similar amounts of sugar to those found in United Kingdom stores. Whole, unprocessed fruit does not contain free sugars and does not need to be counted when considering government recommendations.

"In the United Kingdom, on average, children eat more yogurt than adults, with children under three years old eating the most".

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Yogurt products - especially those marketed to children - may contain more sugar than soft drinks, putting kids at risk of obesity and tooth decay, a study warns.

A report published in May showed sugar content in yoghurts had been reduced by 6% in the first year, making it the only food category to exceed the 5% target.

Unsurprisingly, desserts contained the most sugar, at an average of 16.4g per 100g.

898 products were sorted into categories including desserts, organic yogurt, natural or Greek yogurt, dairy alternatives and yogurts aimed at children, including fromage frais. In these categories, average sugars ranged from 10.8g per 100g in children's products to 13.1g per 100g in organic products.

The only exception was with natural, Greek and "Greek-style" yogurts. Low fat and low sugar were classified according to European Union regulations, now used as: 3 g of fat/100g or less or 1.5 g or less for drinks; and a maximum of 5 g of total sugars/100 g. The researchers assessed the nutrient content of nearly 900 yoghurts and yoghurt products, which were available from five major United Kingdom online supermarket chains in late 2016.

Natural/Greek yogurt was the only category appreciably different than the rest, with a lower median sugar content of 5 grams, as well as a higher median protein content. They end with a call to reduce the amount of sugar in yogurts, or at the very least, signal it through labeling. Twice the level considered appropriate for a food to be labeled "low sugar".

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