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Food for Thought - Yogurt

You walk down the aisle and the variety on offer is endless: low fat yogurts, yogurt drinks, yogurt with toppings etc! What is our healthiest choice here? ALL these companies will boast some kind of health claim on the front of the packet in order to convince you their product is ‘healthy’

But is it? Yogurt has lactose in which is a natural sugar that makes it naturally sweet. Unfortunately some companies alter their yogurts to make them more attractive to target audiences.

Muller Light – Toffee Yogurt

HEALTH CLAIM: 99 kcal or less, fat free

Yogurt (Milk), Water, Fructose, Modified Maize Starch, Flavourings, Gelatine, Caramel Syrup, Salt, Sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame K

This yogurt is 99kcal or less because they’ve WATERED it down. You’re paying for less yogurt and more water with modified maize starch and gelatin added to thicken it all back up. Four different types of SUGAR disguised in various unnatural sources. Fructose, caramel syrup, aspartame and acesulfame k.

Actimel Strawberry Yogurt Drink

HEALTH CLAIM: No preservatives or colours, no artificial flavours

Yogurt (Skimmed Milk, Skimmed Milk Concentrate/Powder, Cream (Milk), Yogurt Cultures), Skimmed Milk, Sugar/Liquid Sugar (Sucrose: 8.5%), Strawberry (2.1%), Dextrose, Milk Mineral Concentrate, Stabiliser (Modified Tapioca Starch), Natural Flavouring, Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Lactobacillus Casei (L.casei Danone), Vitamins (B6, D)

Note that this product boasts about its no preservatives or colours but not about it’s added sugar! Again, various different types are spotted here with Sucrose and Dextrose added and then the natural sweetness in the Strawberry. We’re looking at around 10% added sugar in this bottle and then listed are the stabilisers they’ve added to alter the yogurt into a more ‘drink’ like state.

Pick up almost ANY yogurt on the shelf, unfortunately even yogurts marketed to children, and you will find this to be the case. But why are they adding all this sugar? Because people are interested in buying ‘low fat’ yogurts. But when the NATURAL fat is taken out the taste is taken out too - so in goes the sugar to make it taste nice again!

Repeat after me – FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. It is an incredibly satiating nutrient and is more likely to make you feel satisfied and consume less. Fat helps to slow the digestion of the naturally occurring sugars in yogurt so imagine what happens when we take that out and add EVEN MORE sugar?!

Next time you go on your weekly shopping trip go on a hunt for the plain, natural yogurt. The one that sits in the corner and doesn’t make a fuss. This plain yogurt can be tarted up as you wish with different toppings - granola, fruit or maybe even chocolate or squeeze of honey etc. LOOK OUT for our yogurt ice lolly recipe coming up!

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