Yogurt: You Might as Well Drink a Soda Instead

Julie Ryan Evans

yogurtFor years yogurt has held the status of one of the health foods. You think yogurt, you think healthy, right?

But it's actually a bit of a poser, especially when it comes to sugar content. In fact, many brands of yogurt contain more sugar than junk food.

Of course there are some healthy yogurts -- the plain, low-fat kind ... the kind you and your children probably aren't eating.

"Unfortunately, the yogurt that most people purchase, especially for their children, is so highly sweetened that one container is like drinking Coke -- OK, a Coke fortified with calcium," says Dina R. Rose, PhD, food sociologist, and author of the blog and future book It's Not About Nutrition.

Check out the sugar content of these three popular flavors of yogurt and that in some comparable "junk foods" that Rose provided as examples. You'll be shocked!

YoBaby Blueberry (4 oz) has 13g sugar

Froot Loops = 12g of sugar per serving

Fruity Pebbles = 11g

Kellogg's Nutri-Grian Mixed Berry Bar = 12g

Stretch Island Fruit Leather, Autumn Apple flavor = 9g

Kellogg's Barbie Fruit Flavored Snacks = 13g per pouch

1 large Pepperidge Farm Soft Baked Chocolate Chunk Dark Chocolate Brownie cookie =13g


YoBaby Banana Drinkable (6 oz) has 22g sugar

Kellogg's Pop-Tart Frosted Blueberry = 17g of sugar per tart

Dreyer's Fruit Bar Popsicle, Grape Flavor = 20g

Dunkin' Donuts Strawberry Frosted Donut = 14g

8 Caramel-filled Hershey's Kisses = 21g

One Reese's Peanut Butter Big Cup = 19g

8 ounce serving of Sunny D = 20g

One Dairy Queen Child's Chocolate Cone = 17g


Breyers Strawberry YoCrunch With Oreo (6 oz) has 27g of sugar

One Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar = 24g of sugar

2 Entenmann's Softees Powdered Donuts = 26g

One apple fritter at Starbucks = 27g

One can of 7UP = 25g

But what about all the calcium yogurt contains, isn't that important, especially for children?

"The national concern about calcium consumption seems manufactured," Rose said. "Is there any evidence that our kids are suffering from a calcium deficiency? There's been no outbreak of rickets, no evidence that people are suffering from osteoporosis at an early age."

She said if we focused on introducing our kids to a wide range of healthy foods -- particularly fruits and vegetables -- they would get plenty of calcium throughout the day.

Rose says instead many parents choose yogurt for their children because of a "selective attention" and the "feel better approach."

"We focus on the dimension of food that makes us feel better (in this case the calcium) and overlook the dimension we would rather ignore (the sugar)," she explained. "Unfortunately, good eating habits can't be shaped that way because it's the desirable, not the nutritious, aspect of food which shapes how our kids really eat.  Sugar begets more sugar: it never leads to carrots. Or spinach."

Definitely some good food for thought.

Do you consider yogurt a healthy food or a treat? Will this information change that?

Image via Dan4th/Flickr


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