Dr Moore explained that while yogurts contained their own naturally-occurring sugar - called lactose or milk sugar -current United Kingdom labelling laws do not require the declaration of added sugars on nutrition labels. And yogurts marketed toward children also had very high sugar, 10.8 grams. Yogurts, particularly those marketed towards children have been found to contain high levels of sugar.
Unsurprisingly, yoghurt desserts contained the most sugar - an average of 16.4g per 100g.
Yogurt selections like this one at a Los Angeles 365 by Whole Foods Market store are getting larger, but a new United Kingdom study warns that many contain lots of added sugar.
Low fat and low sugar were classified according to European Union regulations, now used for the front of pack food traffic light labelling system used in the United Kingdom: 3 grammes of fat/100 grammes or less or 1.5 grammes or less for drinks; and a maximum of 5 grammes of total sugars/100 grammes.
‘Healthy’ children’s yogurts are actually high in sugar, study finds
For context, the daily recommended sugar content per day for children ages 4 to 6 is no more than 19 grams, and many of these yogurts contributed significantly to that maximum. Each of these yogurts were then sorted into eight different categories, and compared: children's, dairy alternatives, dessert, drinks, flavored, fruit, natural/Greek, and organic.
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, the researchers said. 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.
That yogurt you had for breakfast might not be as healthy as you think.
Yogurts found in a US supermarket have similar amounts of sugar to those found in United Kingdom stores. The recommended daily allowance of sugar is 30g. Moore advocates for more transparent food labeling, and changes from the yogurt industry itself. In general, consumers' liking for yogurt is often correlated with sweetness. In fact, studies have shown yogurt consumers have a lower risk of obesity. Greek and natural yogurts were the least sugary varieties, with an average of five grams per 100 grams.