The issue of obesity and health issues surrounding it, have recently been thrust into the spotlight and rightfully so. The food industry is aware of this, and knows that people are taking more of an interest in diet, health and weight loss. The packaging and advertising of many of the food products you see in the grocery claim to be good choices to make as part of a healthy diet or weight loss plan.
Too often, many consumers aren’t looking beyond the advertisements and product packaging to take a close look at the nutrition labels of many of these foods.
I’m going to share with you something about me. A few years ago, despite my efforts in the gym and what I though were good nutritional choices, I was a perpetual “before” picture. I didn’t have a sweet tooth, wasn’t eating fast foods, or drinking soda. What I was eating was lots of yogurt and “healthy” frozen entrees that according to the packaging, would help promote weight loss as part of a healthy diet and took it at face value never once bothering to take an interest in the nutrition or ingredient label.
Let’s take a look behind the labels of one of my favorite foods, yogurt, and compare:
Foodeducate.com took a look at Yoplait yogurt. If you visit Yoplait’s website, they provide the nutritional information. Foodeducate.com took a look at the nutritional highlights and ingredients of a 6 oz. Yoplait Original Yogurt .
As Foodeducate.com points out, the yogurt contains a whopping 27 grams of sugar!!!! With that amount of sugar, you may as well be eating a candy bar! It also has 33 grams of carbohydrate which according to their label, is 11% of the recommended Daily Value. As for protein, you’re looking at only 5 grams and no fiber.
What are the ingredients that make up Yoplait Yogurt? Here are the ingredients provided by Fooducate.com in which they highlighted the added sugars:
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored with Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.
This hardly makes for a weight loss choice.
Next, let’s take a look at another popular brand, Dannon Yogurt which I used to eat on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day. My favorite was the Fruit on the Bottom Cherry Yogurt. Here’s the nutritional highlights on a 6 oz. serving:
This also has a whopping 24 grams of sugar, 26 grams of carbohydrates, only 6 grams of protein and no fiber.
Take a closer look at the ingredients and you will find that 3 of the 14 ingredients that make up this product are sugar products: sugar, fructose syrup, high fructose corn syrup.
If you go do the Dannon Website to where they list their products and click on “Fruit on The Bottom”, you will be able to view the nutritional as well as the ingredient information http://www.dannon.com/ourproducts.aspx
Am I advising you to stop eating yogurt? Absolutely not. However, you do want to question the foods you eat by knowing what is them and what they are made up of.
I love yogurt and it’s part of my diet. It’s a great source of calcium and has wonderful nutritional benefits. However, you do want to compare labels when choosing your products. When you look at the nutritional information of the yogurt I eat, and compare it to Yoplait or Dannon, you will see the difference.
When choosing yogurt, I stick to plain, unflavored yogurt. I eat FAGE Plain 2% yogurt which is high in protein (20 grams), very low in sugar and carbohydrates. I enjoy it plain or add fresh berries which are low in sugar, high in antioxidants, and ground flax seed for added fiber. However, for the sake of being consistent, I will compare FAGE Cherry Flavored Yogurt. One great feature of FAGE’s flavored yogurts is that the fruit flavoring is separate from the yogurt so you can control how much of the fruit flavoring (which is where most of the sugar comes from) you want in your yogurt
Unfortunately, I’m not able to get a screen shot of their on line nutrition label, and you will have to click on this link to see for yourself: http://www.fageusa.com/products.aspx#/products/classic
A 5.3oz serving contains 16 grams of sugar, 17 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein. As you can see, this product is lower in sugar and carbohydrates compared to Yoplait and Dannon, and does not contain fructose, high fructose corn syrup.
FAGE INGREDIENTS: All natural, strained yogurt [made with Grade A pasteurized
skimmed milk and cream, live active yogurt cultures (L. Bulgaricus,
S. Thermophilus)] and separate serving of cherry fruit preparation.
FAGE Yogurts contain no added sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives.
The Plain 2% yogurt I eat comes in an 8oz. serving. It has 20 grams of protein, 9 grams of sugar and 9 grams of carbohydrates. The only ingredients listed on here are Grade A Pasteurized Skimmed Milk and Cream and Live Active Yogurt Cultures. That’s it. 2 ingredients.
Below is a picture of how I enjoy this yogurt. I have topped the yogurt with some fresh berries, chopped walnuts and some oats.
Most of the flavored yogurts on the market, even the greek ones, will have approximately 20 grams of sugar and 20 grams of carbohydrates in them. Your best bet is to stick to the low fat plain yogurts, particularly the greek yogurts. I did sample FAGE, Chobani, Stoneyfield OIKOS, Dannon and Yoplait Low Fat Plain Greek Yogurts. Yoplait tasted so bad I had to spit it out. Dannon was tolerable, but I would not be buying it any time soon. Chobani and Stoneyfield are OK but to me, FAGE tasted the best.
Next time we’ll take a look at some of the frozen entrees on the market.