Yogurts are widely viewed as a healthy source of calcium and protein that can help children develop strong bones and teeth. This is why it’s so surprising to learn that some ready-prepared yogurts bought in shops are packed with added sugar, which means that they can often do more harm than good.
The Maximum Daily Allowance (MDA) shows the maximum amount of sugar that children of all ages can have to stay healthy.
Some yogurts can contain up to 4 sugar cubes! This means that just one pot can put them worryingly close to their maximum daily allowance, so it’s really important to keep an eye on how much sugar you’re giving your children and try to choose healthier yogurts for them.
Sometimes it can be hard to see how much sugar is in the yogurts you buy. We’ve tried to make this easier for parents by clearly laying out the sugar content of some of Liverpool’s most popular children’s yogurts in a handy guide. We’ve shown them in order of sugar content, so you can quickly identify which ones contain the most sugar.
Do all sugars count?
This is where things can get a little confusing, as the sugars in milk are stored differently. Basically, you don’t need to worry about the sugars naturally found in plain milk products, such as yogurts, as these are not classed as ‘added sugars’.
To help keep things simple, we’ve taken away the natural milk sugars and are only showing the added sugars – the ones that contribute towards your child maximum daily allowance.
(So you can clearly see how much sugar your child is having without having to work it out!)
What about the sugars in fruit?
Although some yogurts seem healthy and are promoted as containing fruit, most of the fruit added to yogurts is processed (e.g. turned into a smoothie, fruit juice, puree or concentrate). You should be able to see if the fruit has been processed on the yogurt label.
The sugars in whole fruits are released when they are processed, which changes them into ‘free sugars’. These sugars, despite being fruit-based, can cause tooth decay and other health problems, so we need to limit them in our children’s diets.
Whole fruit is a healthier way to add sweetness
The sugars in unprocessed, whole fruits don’t count towards your child’s daily limit. This is because these sugars are contained within the structure of the fruit, which makes them less likely to cause tooth decay. The way that fibre in whole fruit is digested also regulates the release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Adding your own whole fruit to plain yogurt instead of buying yogurts containing processed fruit is a great way to give your child a healthier snack.
Yogurts, snacks, drinks and cereals
can quickly add up!
If your child has other sugary snacks, breakfast cereals or drinks during the day, your child’s daily sugar intake could be rising to shocking levels. If you’re not careful this can lead to all sorts of problems.
It’s easier than you think to start keeping a closer eye on how much sugar your child is having, and start to make healthier choices, with our handy sugar check tool.