Q: I read an article in the Lawrence Journal-World that stated that fruit-flavored yogurt is equivalent to 15 teaspoons of sugar in one little container. Is that really true?
A: I read the same article. Here are the facts. One teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams. Therefore, the fruit-flavored yogurt that was referred to in the article must contain 60 grams of sugar (15 teaspoons times 4 grams). The most that I've seen in an 8-ounce (1 cup) container of fruit-flavored yogurt is 47 grams (which would equal 11 3/4 teaspoons of sugar). Today, most of the individual containers of yogurt are 6 ounces, not 8 ounces, so that complicates the understanding of the nutrition label even more.
The bottom line is that most flavored yogurts do have a significant amount of sugar listed on the nutrition label. Even the low-fat vanilla yogurt contains approximately 33 grams of sugar (or 8 1/4 teaspoons of sugar) per cup of which anywhere from 16 to 20 grams of it comes from an added form of sugar (depending on the manufacturer and brand). Nonfat plain yogurt does not contain any added form of sugar, yet it contains between 13 to 17 grams of sugar per cup. The sugar listed in nonfat plain yogurt comes only from the naturally occurring lactose in the milk.
As a better choice, you may want to make your own nonfat vanilla flavored yogurt as I've done in the recipe below and then add your own unsweetened fruit to it. By making your own, you will eat 60 calories less and lower your sugar intake by 11 grams (that's almost 3 teaspoons less) per 8 ounces (1 cup).
Make-Your-own vanilla nonfat yogurt
1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (or less)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix together. Makes one serving.
Nutrition facts per serving: 140 calories, 0 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 135 milligrams sodium, 28 grams total carbohydrates, 0 grams dietary fiber, 22 grams sugar, 10 grams protein.
1/2 cup Make-Your-Own Vanilla Nonfat Yogurt
2 tablespoons unsweetened, frozen strawberries (thawed)
2 tablespoons unsweetened, frozen blueberries (thawed and rinsed)
1/4 cup round oat cereal, i.e. Cheerios (or other low-fat, low-sugar whole-grain cereal)
In an 8-ounce clear glass, layer yogurt and fruit. Top with cereal. Makes one serving.
Nutrition: 120 calories, 0.5 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 120 milligrams sodium, 24 grams total carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 14 grams sugar, 6 grams protein.
- Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.