A new CHOICE review of 118 different yoghurt pouches has revealed which yoghurts are the worst offenders when it comes to total sugar, along with the best performers for calcium, protein and fat content.
"Squeezy pouches of yoghurt are a really popular choice for lunch boxes. Many of these yoghurts contain a good amount of calcium, and many contain small amounts of added sugars, so they're a good option in terms of packaged snacks available for children," says CHOICE expert Marianna Longmire.
"With over 100 options to choose from, it can be really difficult to tell which yoghurt pouches are the healthiest options for your kids. In our last review of yoghurt pouches in 2016 all of the products contained added sugar, but in 2020 we're seeing healthier options available as well."
CHOICE reviewed the ingredients of over 100 different yoghurt products from brands including Yoplait Petit Miam, Chobani, Tamar Valley Kids and Farmers Union, to find out exactly how healthy they are.
"When we first reviewed squeezy yoghurt pouches in 2016, every product we looked at contained added sugar, which we should be trying to limit in our diets," says Longmire.
"This year, there's been some improvement to sugar content. 64% of the yoghurt pouches we reviewed had added sugar, and 36% of the products had lower sugars coming primarily from dairy or real fruit," says Longmire.
"If you can't tell from the ingredients list whether there's added sugar in a yoghurt product, look at the Nutritional Information Panel on the back. Of the products we looked at, natural yoghurt contains roughly 5-6% intrinsic (naturally occuring) sugars. So if the total sugars value is more than 7g per 100g, it probably contains added sugars," says Longmire.
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CHOICE discovered that 17 squeezy yoghurt products in our review contained carrot concentrate.
"If you spotted this ingredient on yoghurt packaging, it would be reasonable to assume it was a healthy addition. However, carrot concentrate is actually just the colour and sugars from a carrot, not the fibre and other nutrients that can be found in a whole carrot," says Longmire.
"Don't be surprised if the fruit content of your yoghurt doesn't live up to the pictures on the label. Some yoghurts do seem to be flavoured with minimally processed real fruit. The fruit content in other yoghurt products is more like jam made from fruit purée, water and sugar, with thickeners, colours and food acids," says Longmire.
It's reasonable to assume that most yoghurts are high in calcium, but our review found that only 43% of the yoghurt pouches contained enough to be a good source of calcium for a four to eight-year-old child.
"Yoghurt needs to contain 175 milligrams of calcium or more per pouch to be a good source of calcium for children in the four to eight-year-old bracket," says Longmire.
Some of the yoghurt pouches we looked at have "source of protein" or "protein for growing bodies" claims on the packaging.
"It's important to be wary of claims about protein if this is particularly important to you. While all yoghurts contain protein we found that 60 yoghurt products contained less than half the amount of protein to qualify as a "good source." According to the Food Standard Code, a product must contain at least 10 grams of protein per serving to qualify as a "good source" of protein."
"Fat is actually what makes yoghurt thick and creamy, but if it's a high-fat yoghurt, it's high in saturated fat which we want to avoid," says Longmire. "If you're looking for a low-fat yoghurt, keep an eye out for one that has no more than three grams of fat per 100 grams."
CHOICE also found that low-fat yoghurts contain more calcium, on average, than those with a higher fat content.
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Media contact: Katelyn Cameron, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0430 172 669
To read the full article, click here: www.choice.com.au/kidsyoghurt
Images and video available via Dropbox: https://shwca.se/kidsyoghurt