March 1, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Sugar in Yogurt

My 3 year old daughter doesn't like milk, so yogurt is one of her sources of calcium.

When I buy yogurt for her, though, I don't know how to determine which brands have too much sugar.


One brand has 24 grams of sugar for 6 ounces. Is that too much?


-- Terri Korolev

San Francisco, CA

Dairy products' food labels take some extra skill to analyze since manufacturers are not asked to differentiate between naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars.

In this case, "naturally-occurring" sugars refers to lactose, the inherent sugar found in all dairy products.

Unlike added sugars' empty calories, naturally-occurring varieties co-exist with nutrients (the same can be said for fructose, which is present in fresh fruits.)

When shopping for yogurts, keep in mind that 6 ounces of yogurt contain 12 grams of naturally-occurring sugars.

This means that the yogurt you refer to contains an additional 12 grams (1 tablespoon) of added sugar.

I am of the school of thought that children and adults should get no more than 10 percent of their total daily calories from added sugars.

In the case of a 3-year old, that means no more than 30 or 35 grams of added sugar a day.

As a healthier alternative, see how she likes eating plain yogurt along with sweet fruits like bananas and pineapples.

You can even make it fun for her by storing fresh banana slices in a Ziploc bag, freezing them, and mixing them in with her yogurt.

1 comment:

glidingcalm said...

im posting a link back to this in my next post to a reader who asked about sugar in yogurt! hope you don't mind!! :)