‘Health halo’ organic yogurts have double the amount of sugar

A study found that organic yoghurts had an average sugar content of 13.1g per 100g

Organic yogurts were found to have the highest average sugar content - 13.1 per cent.

Of 921 yoghurts available in United Kingdom supermarkets in October and November 2016, organic ones had an average sugar content of about 13.1g per 100g, the highest content excluding those sold specifically as desserts.

The NHS recommends that children aged four to six have no more than 19g of sugar, or five sugar cubes a day, and it is advised that those aged seven to 10 consume less than 24g daily.

Writing in the journal BMJ Open, Moore and colleagues describe how they looked at nutritional data for 898 products by searching the online grocery websites of five major United Kingdom supermarkets.

Lead author Dr Bernadette Moore, from the University of Leeds, said: "While there is good evidence that yoghurt can be beneficial to health, products on the market vary widely in nutrient content".

In order to see how much sugar yogurts have, a team of scientists analyzed the nutritional content of 900 yogurts and yogurt products, which were available from five major United Kingdom online supermarket chains in October/November 2016. Yogurt is marketed as a healthy food, but a study published this week in the British Medical Journal is the latest reminder that not all yogurt is created equal.

Under the traffic lights nutritional labelling system, only products with less than 5g of sugar per 100g can be given the "green" low sugar rating.

Moore also highlighted that all consumers should beware of the marketing of organic products. "It can be a great source of protein, calcium, and vitamin B12", she said. Overall, fewer than one in ten of all the yogurts studied - 9 percent - qualified as low-sugar.

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As a mother she wondered, just how much sugar was she giving her daughter? This is "concerning", given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, say the researchers.

Moore suspects the amount of sugar in yogurt in the U.S.is about the same as in the United Kingdom. One Yoplait yogurt, marketed with Disney's popular Frozen characters on it, contains 13 grams of sugar in a 113 gram serving.

"What is worrisome is that yogurt, as a perceived "healthy food", may be an unrecognized source of free/added sugars in the diet", the researchers write.

Researchers warned that the "health halo" effect meant consumers often overestimated the health properties of organic products.

Most dairy products contain a naturally occurring sugar - lactose - that is included in the total sugar count. "If you're watching your weight, sugar is sugar, no matter what".

What may also help in the U.S.is that by January 2020, most companies will be required to use the Food and Drug Administration's new nutrition labels, which call out added sugars.The healthiest yogurts, Moyer and Moore agree, are plain, unsweetened yogurts and Greek yogurts.

The research found that organic yoghurts were among the most sugary types. You can pretty much eat as much natural sugar as you like.

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