Is Yogurt Junk Food?

In my mind, yogurt and Cheerios go hand in hand when it comes to baby foods – healthy, almost universally loved, and always stocked in our house.  A few months ago, I was looking at yogurt labels to compare protein and noticed that plain yogurt has sugar in it! straus-family-creamery I don’t know why this never occurred to me, but I assumed plain yogurt was sugarfree since it doesn’t taste sweet, but Strauss Organic plain yogurt has 7g of sugar in 1 cup.  That’s almost 2 tsp.  I guess that isn’t that bad, though it is about the same as a regular sized cookie (6g), which I don’t let my kids eat, but once you start getting into the flavors, one cup of yogurt has about the same amount of sugar as a can of soda!  And oddly, lowfat yogurt typically has more sugar than full fat yogurt.  Here’s a list of how much sugar is in 1 cup/8 ounces of the following foods:

  • Cheerios – 1g
  • Strauss plain – whole milk – 7g
  • Strauss plain greek – whole milk – 9gsugar
  • Strauss plain – lowfat and nonfat – 10g
  • Whole/reduced fat milk – 12 g
  • Strauss plain greek – low fat – 12g
  • Fruit Loops – 12g (This is just here for comparison, I am not suggesting that anyone give their kids Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, or Coke!)
  • Frosted Flakes – 15g
  • Strauss blueberry pomegranate- whole milk – 25g
  • Coke – 26g
  • Strauss maple – whole milk – 27g
  • Strauss vanilla – whole milk – 32g
  • Strauss vanilla – nonfat – 33g

Obviously there are good things about yogurt that cookies, sugar cereal, and soda don’t have – calcium, protein, good bacteria – but is it worth the sugar?  I’m inclined to think it’s not worth the sugar in flavored yogurt.  Since my boys don’t drink a lot of milk or eat a lot of meat, we’ll stick with plain greek yogurt for calcium and protein for now, but 2-3 tsp still seems like a lot of sugar to me.  Maybe I should be encouraging cheese eating over yogurt eating/milk drinking.

Has anyone else thought about this?  Am I the only one who didn’t know yogurt and milk has lots of sugar in it?  Am I being totally nuts?

Update: Milk sugar is natural, like sugar in fruit, so I guess it’s not as bad as soda or sugar cereal, but something to keep your eye on as your kid suck down bowls of yogurt, especially when those bowls often proceed bowls of fruit!

Update 2: In case you’re not reading the comments, the fiber in fruit and the fat/protein in dairy slow the absorption of natural sugar, so stick with plain yogurt and everything will be a-ok.

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6 Responses to Is Yogurt Junk Food?

  1. Christine Nygaard says:

    Yes, you are totally being nuts.

  2. Russell Uman says:

    “natural” sugar is just as bad as added sugar. what makes it better when you eat fruit (but not juice!) is that all the fiber in the fruit slows absorption.

    i don’t know if yogurt works the same way or not.

    it would be better to compare sugar as a proportion of total calories than sugar as a proportion of volume, and even better to look at the ratio between sugar, complex carbs, protein and fat.

    IMO plain yogurt is a LOT better than cheerios when you consider the whole package.

    flavored yogurt is just thick coke.

    • Did some quick googling – protein and fat slow absorption too, so we’ll stick with plain yogurt. Thanks for that info. I love Cheerios. I’m not even willing to consider what you might be saying about Cheerios right now!

      • Russell Uman says:

        i’m definitely NOT saying that cheerios are bad!!! (though you can certainly get o-shaped carbs with less added sugar if you want to be really severe about it)

  3. Less than 1g? We tried generic Cheerios once and they tasted different and not as good. I am brand loyal to the General on this one.

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