Q: How much sugar do yogurts contain?
A: All types of yogurt contain a natural sugar called lactose. This is naturally found in the milk from which yogurt is made. Health organisations around the world, including the NHS, agree there’s no need to avoid or limit the type of sugar found naturally in milk as it’s not harmful to health.
Plain or natural varieties of yogurt don’t have any extra sugar added to them. Therefore, all the sugars they contain comes from lactose – one of the sugars that doesn’t need to be limited.
Flavoured yogurts often contain fruit. Like the natural sugars in milk, the natural sugar in fruit (fructose) doesn’t need to be limited when it’s eaten in the form of fruit. Yogurts may also be sweetened with sweeteners or a little sugar, honey or other sweet ingredients such as toffee. The sugar content varies depending on the ingredients that are added.
Yogurts contribute far less sugar to our diets than you might think. Amongst working-age adults, just 4% of the free sugars – the ones we should cut down on – come from yogurt. Even amongst children, yogurts add less sugar to their diets than might be expected. In toddlers, just 12% of free sugars come from yogurt; in primary cool children it’s 6%; and in 11 to 18 year olds, it’s just 3%. It’s worth remembering too, that yogurt is a nutrient-dense food – this means any sugar it contains comes naturally packaged with protein and many vitamins and minerals.
Find out more about sugar and food labels here.