Yogurt contributing to obesity epidemic, study claims

Yoghurt

Researchers studied the nutrient content of more than 900 yogurt products from five online supermarkets in the United Kingdom, including children's yogurts, yogurt drinks, fruit-flavored yogurts, Greek and organic. And yogurts marketed toward children also had very high sugar, 10.8 grams.

While yogurt is considered to be among the healthful "superfoods", new findings from British researchers revealed many varieties contain high levels of sugar, with the exception of natural and Greek yogurts.

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. In 100 grams of product contains 17 grams of sugar (4 teaspoons sugar).

As expected, yogurt desserts ranked the highest, containing 16.4g of sugar per 100g on average.

Under the traffic lights nutritional labelling system, only products with less than 5g of sugar per 100g can be given the "green" low sugar rating.

The average children's yogurt had 10.8 per cent sugar.


898 products were sorted into categories including desserts, organic yogurt, natural or Greek yogurt, dairy alternatives and yogurts aimed at children, including fromage frais.

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.

It is important to note, the publicly available nutritional content does not differentiate between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. This is "concerning", given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, say the researchers. Dr. J. Bernadette Moore, nutrition scientist and lead author of the study, said that her concerns as a parent were the initial inspiration for the research.

Pushing your kids towards the yogurt rack at the supermarket to make him make healthier choices, may actually be an unhealthy idea.

We know that working out the sugar content of food can be confusing because government sugar recommendations for a healthy diet only refer to "free" (also called "added") sugars, and food labels don't distinguish between free and total sugars. Moore advocates for more transparent food labeling, and changes from the yogurt industry itself.

Yogurts found in a USA supermarket have similar amounts of sugar to those found in United Kingdom stores. When introducing foods to children, why not choose natural yogurt instead? In fact, studies have shown yogurt consumers have a lower risk of obesity.

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