Monday, 10 December, 2018

Sugar content of most supermarket yogurts well above recommended threshold

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Ben Pena | 21 September, 2018, 14:39

For the study, the researchers analysed over 900 types of yogurt and yogurt products and found that fewer than one in 10 (9 per cent) qualified as low sugar - nearly none of which were in the children's category.

"While the organic label refers to production, the well documented "health-halo effect" means that consumers most often underestimate the caloric content and perceive the nutritional contents of organic products, including yoghurts, more favourably".

"Even if we take the reduction into account, most of these yogurts will still not be low in sugar", stated Dr. Moore.

Only two of the 101 children's yogurts and fromage frais surveyed could be classified as low sugar, with most having 10.8g per 100g. The average children's yogurt had 10.8 per cent sugar. In general, consumers' liking for yogurt is often correlated with sweetness.

They found that nearly all yogurts contain large amounts of sugar. Greek yogurt is also high in good bacteria, calcium, iodine and vitamin B.

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.

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Under current NHS guidelines four to six-year-olds should have no more than 19 grams of sugar a day.

Study co-author Dr Barbara Fielding, from the University of Surrey, said: "Diets high in added sugars are now unequivocally linked to obesity and dental problems". Children's yogurts did not lag too far behind as they were estimated to contain 10.8g per 100g. All the yogurts were categorized as natural/Greek, desserts, organic, flavored, fruit, children's, dairy alternatives, etc. "Many portion sizes for children's yogurts were identical to adult portion sizes".

Organic yogurts fare second worst, with 13.1g of sugar per 100g, and natural or Greek yogurts are best with 5g of sugar per 100g. The team completed the research into the yogurt sugar levels by gathering nutritional data from supermarket websites.

The study comes amid a government-drive to encourage manufacturers to reduce sugar content in their products - including yoghurts - by 20% by 2020.

Low fat and low sugar were classified according to European Union regulations: 3g or less of fat per 100g and 1.5g or less for drinks, and a maximum of 5g of total sugars per 100g. And experts say those sugars can add up quickly.

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. One Yoplait yogurt, marketed with Disney's popular Frozen characters on it, contains 13 grams of sugar in a 113 gram serving.

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