Supermarket yoghurts may contain more sugar than soft drinks
Supermarket yoghurts may contain more sugar than soft drinks
Image Only 2% of children's yoghurts analysed by researchers were classed as low in sugar
21 September, 2018, 14:42
Of 921 yoghurts available in United Kingdom supermarkets in October and November 2016, organic ones had an average sugar content of about 13.1g per 100g, the highest content excluding those sold specifically as desserts.
Researchers warn that customers may think they're making a healthy choice when choosing those organic yogurts, when in fact they're making an unhealthy decision.
Lead author Dr Bernadette Moore, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds, said natural, unsweetened yogurt is a healthy snack for children, packed with protein and calcium. And yogurts marketed toward children also had very high sugar, 10.8 grams.
One finding of the study that might come as a surprise to consumers is that organic yogurts were some of the sweetest of all. But store-bought yogurt may also contain more sugar than anyone suspected.
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.
'Retailers could play a positive role in promoting health by establishing boundaries for lunchbox recommendations and clearly labelling the amount of added sugar'. Only two children's yogurts - both in the Petits Filous Fromage Frais range - were in the low sugar category. But, with the exception of natural/Greek yogurts, the average sugar content of products in all the categories was well above the low sugar threshold.
Doctors say that the normal amount of sugar for a child for one day - 19 g.
Image Organic yoghurts typically had 13.1g of sugar per 100g
This is "concerning" given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, the researchers said. "Many portion sizes for children's yogurts were identical to adult portion sizes".
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.
As a result, it fails to take into account the sugar reduction the industry has already achieved.
In 2016 Public Health England set the food industry a target to cut sugar in various food product categories by 5% in the first year and 20% by 2020. This may be why these products had higher amounts of added sugar to offset the sourness. 'Yogurts contain natural sugar from the milk, as well as any fruit that's included'.
The survey was conducted across eight categories of yogurt and fromage frais: children's, dairy alternative, dessert, drinks, flavoured, natural/Greek, organic, fruit.
Natural sugar is the sugar naturally present in a food - in yoghurt (and other dairy products) it's mostly a type of sugar called lactose.
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