It’s actually not a question. In plenty of cases, it’s very true. What could very well be your favorite healthy breakfast or snack may be much less healthy than you think it is. In fact, many of the mainstream brands contain more sugar than the classic junk food you’d probably never think about eating.
The American Heart Association recommends that men eat no more than 36 grams of sugar per day, and women no more than 20. One Twinkie makes a big dent in that recommended daily max, packing 19 grams of the sweet stuff. Many of the top-selling yogurts have even more.
Part of this high sugar count is due to sugar that occurs naturally in yogurt, but the amount of natural sugar varies dramatically, depending on the kind. Lowfat yogurt, for example, is notorious for being high in sugar, Monica Reinagel, M.S., LDN, CNS reported. The first 17 grams of sugar per serving, in lowfat varieties, is naturally occurring lactose. In original yogurt, it’s common to see anywhere between 12 and 15 grams of natural sugar, according to Heather Bauer, R.D., CDN. That’s why Bauer recommends going Greek. Greek yogurt, she said, has as little as 6 grams in plain flavors.
What really ups the sugar, though, is what we put into that plain yogurt. Fruit, especially the syrupy kind mixed into store-bought yogurts, is a common culprit. Plus, once you start throwing in candied nuts or sweetened granola, you’ve can quickly find yourself well beyond the sugar content of an entire Twinkie. “If you’re going to add toppings, always stick to a plain flavor,” Bauer says.
But many would-be yogurt eaters will tell you they just don’t care for the bitter taste of a plain scoop. To make it more palatable, nearly all big brands, like Yoplait and Dannon, offer a large selection of fruit- and sometimes even dessert-flavored options.
Yoplait Original Strawberry Banana Low Fat Yogurt contains 26 grams of sugar. If you like Stonyfield Farms Organic Low Fat Blueberry Yogurt, you’ll be consuming 30 grams of sugar in one eight-ounce serving.
O.k., FoodFacts.com knows that yogurt isn’t a Twinkie. And we know that plenty of yogurt ingredient lists have been improving over time. We can’t possibly say the same thing about Twinkies. At the same time, we also know that added sugars in our diets are a major contributor to the obesity crisis, the sharp rise in diabetes and heart disease. So sometimes even the foods we perceive as healthy require further investigation before we consider including them in our diets. We would like to mention that not every yogurt is sweeter than a Twinkie. We just need to remain committed to reading nutrition labels for every single product we purchase.