3 June 2014
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has looked at yoghurt products and found that while they are often marketed as healthy, low fat, calcium rich options for kids and adults alike, the truth is some are more like dairy-based desserts.
“Packaged breakfast pots, particularly yoghurts with muesli, can be an easy option on-the-go, but the convenience can come at the cost of high kilojoule and sugar levels,” says CHOICE Investigative Journalist Kate Browne.
”Serving sizes can also be confusing and you often have to resort to the fine print in a bid to work out if you’re consuming more kilojoules and sugar than you bargained for,” she says.
Bulla Yoghurt Crunch Summer Berry offers yoghurt and muesli in a pot with a spoon, clearly intended to be eaten on-the-go. However, the small print shows there are actually 2.25 serves per pot.
“The average person is probably going to eat the whole pot, meaning they’ll consume 1339kJ and a whopping 42g of sugars. People may be surprised that this Bulla Yoghurt Crunch product has around the same number of kilojoules as a Magnum Almond, and over 50% more sugar,” Browne says.
“While sugar and kilojoule laden yoghurts do have the benefit of calcium, they are more of a dessert treat.”
Experts recommend health-conscious consumers stick to low or no fat plain yoghurt for every day, with fresh fruit or a teaspoon of honey for sweetness. For example, Chobani's plain Greek-style yoghurts have 3.8g of sugars per 100g and are low in saturated fat with 1.3g of saturated fat or less.
When it comes to serving sizes The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating says a serve of yoghurt is ¾ cup or 200g, so consumers looking for yoghurt on-the-go should look for a pot size close to 200g.
“Assessing how big the serving size is and weighing up kilojoules per 100g is a good way to determine whether a pot yoghurt is the right choice for you,” Browne says.
CHOICE also looked at kids’ products, finding YoGo Mix Choc Chips contains no yoghurt but has 1090kJ and 29.9g sugar per 150g pot. This sits in the same section as 140g Vaalia Kids Strawberry yoghurt which has around half the kilojoules and sugar. For further information please read our story on how to choose a healthy yoghurt.
- Health-conscious consumers should stick to low or no fat plain yoghurt for everyday eating
- Add chopped fresh fruit or a teaspoon of honey for sweetness if desired
- Check the serving size
- Compare kilojoule, saturated fat and sugar content per 100g
- Avoid products with the word “dessert”.