A semisolid food made from milk fermented by added bacteria, often flavored or sweetened is known as yogurt. The bacteria used to make yogurt is commonly known as “yogurt cultures”. Lactic acid is produced from the bacteria and fermentation of lactose, which acts on milk protein that gives yogurt its texture and tart flavor characteristic. Usually, the milk from cows is used to make yogurt since it is common worldwide. However, milk from goats, ewes, mares, water buffalo, yaks and camels is also used to produce yogurt, depending on availability and locale. Here Rachel Cohen, NPR.org, reflects on yogurts and added sugar concerns:
“If you look at the sugar content of some yogurts in the supermarket, you might mistakenly think you’re in the dessert aisle. 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.
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The researchers surveyed the sugar content of over 900 yogurts in U.K. supermarkets and found that the average amount of sugar across yogurt categories (children’s, organic, flavored, etc.) was well above 10 grams per 100 gram serving. To receive a low-sugar label in the U.K., products cannot have more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 gram serving.
Sugar accounted for the majority of total calories in all but natural or Greek yogurts.
One finding of the study that might come as a surprise to consumers is that organic yogurts were some of the sweetest of all. The median sugar content for organic yogurts was 13.1 grams per 100 gram serving, and some brands had almost 17 grams of sugar per 100 gram serving.
A source of probiotic cultures, protein, calcium, iodine, and vitamin B12, yogurt is frequently recommended as a part of a healthy diet. In fact, studies have shown yogurt consumers have a lower risk of obesity.
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So in 2017 when the U.K. 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.
As a mother she wondered, just how much sugar was she giving her daughter?
“I discovered that for my young daughter’s favorite yogurt, sugar accounted for 60 percent of the calories,” Moore says.
Moore suspects the amount of sugar in yogurt in the U.S. is about the same as in the U.K.
A quick trip down the yogurt aisle of a big U.S. supermarket chain in Los Angeles seems to bear this out. One Yoplait yogurt, marketed with Disney’s popular Frozen characters on it, contains 13 grams of sugar in a 113 gram serving. Chobani Kids had 9 grams of sugar in a 99 gram serving.”
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