Children's yoghurts contain 'shocking' amounts of sugar, study finds

Yoghurt

Yoghurt

Researchers from University of Leeds and University of Surrey in the United Kingdom assessed the nutrient content of nearly 900 yoghurts and yoghurt products, which were available from five major United Kingdom online supermarket chains in October/November 2016.

Yogurts found in a USA supermarket have similar amounts of sugar to those found in United Kingdom stores.

They looked at those marketed to children in particular.

Organic yoghurts typically had 13.1g of sugar per 100g, while natural or Greek varieties had the lowest at around 5g. Overall, fewer than one in ten of all the yogurts studied - 9 percent - qualified as low-sugar.

But a new study, which looked at nearly 900 yoghurt products available on British supermarket shelves in autumn 2016, has revealed that those aimed at children had on average more than twice this level. Yogurt is marketed as a healthy food, but a study published this week in the British Medical Journal is the latest reminder that not all yogurt is created equal.

There's a good reason to believe that yogurt is generally good for you: it aids digestive health and improves gut bacteria, while also containing protein, calcium, iodine and vitamin B. But yogurt might also be a source of unrecognized sugar, researchers caution, especially as children under the age of 3 eat more yogurt than any other age group (proportionally). "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. 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.

Still, the amount of sugar in many commercially available yogurts is less than ideal. These five chains hold the lion's share of the market (over 70%). 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. YoCrunch low-fat yogurt sported 12 grams of sugar in a 113 gram serving, but that number spikes up to 19 grams of sugar if you add the accompanying "mix-ins", like Oreo cookies or M&M sweets. Moore advocates for more transparent food labeling, and changes from the yogurt industry itself.

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The researchers last night said yogurt comes with a "health-halo effect" - people think it is healthy so underestimate the sugar content.

'Yogurts contain natural sugar from the milk, as well as any fruit that's included'.

Yoghurt is good for you - but you need to choose the right kind, or you and your family might end up eating more sugar than you intended.

In Greek yogurts, there might be four to six grams of naturally occurring lactose and 8 to 10 grams in non-Greek yogurts.

Experts have also called for a number of so-called healthy breakfast options to be classed as junk food.

"We've switched to using natural yogurt and she sweetens it with jam", Moore says.

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