Many yoghurts contain too much sugar, and the public should not be lulled into thinking they are eating healthy products, researchers say.1

The conclusion comes after a study of almost 900 yoghurts on sale in UK supermarkets. The Leeds University-led research found that organic yoghurts were among the most sugary – containing more sugar per 100g than cola.2 Only natural and Greek-style yoghurts were classed as low in sugar.

To be classed as low-sugar a product must contain no more than 5g per 100g. Only nine per cent of the yoghurts surveyed were below this threshold.

Lead author Dr Bernadette Moore said: “While there is good evidence that yogurt can be beneficial to health, products on the market vary widely in nutrient content.”

How much sugar was in the yoghurt?

  • Organic – 13.1g per 100g
  • Flavoured – 12g per 100g
  • Fruit – 11.9g per 100g
  • Children's – 10.8g per 100g
  • Dairy alternatives – 9.2g per 100g
  • Natural and Greek – 5g per 100g

Study co-author Dr Barbara Fielding said: “Diets high in added sugars are now unequivocally linked to obesity and dental problems. An alarming 58 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men – along with one in three of UK children aged ten to 11 – were overweight or obese in 2015.”

Dr Moore added: "I think people, including parents, will be surprised to know just how much sugar there is in yoghurt. My advice would be to buy natural yoghurt and mix in your own fruit.”

The good news is that the sugar content of yoghurts has been reduced by six per cent in the first year of Public Health England’s sugar reduction programme, exceeding the five per cent target. By 2020, it is hoped sugar content will be reduced by 20 per cent.3

References

1. BMJ Open. Evaluation of the nutrient content of yogurts: a comprehensive survey of yogurt products in the major UK supermarkets. 2018.

2. Leeds University. Sugar in yoghurt leaves a sour taste. 2018.

3. Huffington Post. Revealed: The Food Sectors That Have Made No Progress On Cutting Sugar. 2018.