Yogurt Labels – How You can be Mislead by Serving Size and Calories

Activia Blueberry Nonfat Greek_vs_Plain Whole Fat_Dannon

 

In a previous post I compared two yogurt labels, different brands, where both serving sizes were 1 cup. One of the yogurts had nearly seven teaspoons of sugar in it!

In today’s post, I want to compare three yogurts from the same company – Dannon. The first yogurt is the Activia fat-free blueberry flavor, the second one is the plain whole milk, and the final one is whole fat plain Greek yogurt.

The first thing I find incredibly annoying and misleading is that the serving size for the Activa is 4 ounces, while the other two yogurts have serving sizes of 8 ounces. You might wonder why would the same company change serving size on the same product – yogurt?

Let’s explore further.

Dannon Activia® Blueberry Probiotic Greek Nonfat Yogurt

Serving size, 4 ounces

120 calories

0 grams fat

18 grams carbohydrates

17 grams of sugars

12 grams protein

 

Dannon Plain Yogurt Whole Milk

Serving size, 8 ounces

120 calories

8 grams fat

18 grams carbohydrates

15 grams sugars

8 grams protein

 

Dannon Oiknos Whole Greek Yogurt Plain

Serving size 1 cup (8 ounces)

190 calories

9 grams fat

9 grams carbohydrates

9 grams sugars

20 grams protein

 

The first thing I want you to know is that a company can make “serving size” any size they please. Serving sizes are not normalized and in my opinion companies make the serving size a value they think is appealing to the customer. I think it is likely based on calories and price point.

Normalize

Let’s “normalize” all the yogurt servings from Dannon to 8 ounces. Of course this doubles all of the values for the Activa product. Here are the new values:

Serving size, 8 ounces

240 calories

0 grams fat

36 grams carbohydrates

34 grams of sugars! (8.5 teaspoons!)

24 grams protein

 

Where does the sugar come from in Activia?

It’s a bit misleading to say 8.5 teaspoons of sugar is in Activa – because some of the sugars come naturally from dairy products. Not all of these sugars are added sugars.

Now I have you looking at sugars for each product and you might wonder why the Whole Milk Yogurt has 15 grams of sugars while the Greek product only has 9 grams. You ask, “What gives?”

Ah, you are sharp.

It’s all about ingredients.

 

Greek Yogurt Ingredients

Turns out the Greek yogurt product ingredient list is one thing: Cultured Grade A Milk. That’s it – nothing else.

Plain Yogurt Ingredients

The Plain Yogurt, Whole Milk product ingredient list: Cultured Grade A reduced fat milk, food starch.

“Food starch, what is that?” you ask.

Food starch is added to foods as a thickening agent. It is typically made from wheat, corn or potatoes. It is essentially added carbohydrates.

What are the ingredients in Activia?

Cultured Grade A Non-Fat Milk, Sugar, Water, Blueberry Puree, Contains Less Than 1% Of Modified Food Starch, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Carmine (For Color), Sodium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Malic Acid.

I’m sure you notice that the number two ingredient, by weight, is sugar. Arrrrrgh!!!

Takeaways for you

  • Purchase plain, Greek yogurt and add your own flavorings.
  • If Greek yogurt it is too thick for you, add some milk or purchase plain yogurt from a company that doesn’t add food starch to the product.
  • If you want to sweeten plain yogurt, begin with diced fresh fruit. If you “must” have it sweeter, add no more than 1 teaspoon of sugar or jam. (You certainly don’t need to add 7 or 8 teaspoons of sugar!)
  • Do not get fooled by slick advertising that touts the benefits of a product without a keen eye on serving size. For example a 2-ounce serving of soft drink only has 35 calories and 10 grams of sugars! Seems like a calorie bargain. (Who consumes only 2 ounces? Ridiculous.)

If you want to learn more about being your own label detective, sign up for the Accelerated Fat-Burning Machine Program. Details coming soon.

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Gale Bernhardt