We generally associate yogurt as a “healthy” food but not all yogurts are created equal. Let’s examine the nutrition label and ingredients from a popular kids’ yogurt.
Examining the Ingredients
Ingredients are listed in descending order by amount, so we can see that the yogurt contains mostly “cultured pasteurized grade A low fat milk”. Notice that the second main ingredient is “sugar” and the third main ingredient is “modified corn starch”. In this case, the modification is not a genetic modification, but instead is changed or altered (“modified”) in some way to make it more useful to the food. The corn starch is being used as a thickening agent to keep the yogurt from being runny. While the other ingredients are in quantities of 1% or less, it is still important to note the number of added “extras” (seven). If you were to look at the label of a healthier version of yogurt, it may only have one ingredient such as “cultured pasteurized grade A low fat milk”.
After looking at the ingredients, let’s look at the nutrition label.
Calories per serving
One tube of yogurt is 50 calories per serving. That does not sound like much, however, one tube is 56 grams which is equivalent to 1.97 ounces. If the person eats more than one tube, the calories could add up to hundreds for one snack.
The total fat on this product is 0.5% per serving so this would be considered a low-fat snack. There is no saturated fat or trans fat, which are the fats that you want to avoid.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that a sweet tasting food can have sodium in it, but sodium is used to bring out flavor. Adults need about 1,500-2,000 mg of sodium per day and children (ages 6-18 years old) should eat less than 2,300 mg per day.
This product has 30 mg of sodium per serving, which would not be considered a high level.
Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars in the body. Kids need and can utilize more carbohydrates than adults. Their bodies use carbs as a source of energy and fuel for their day. Simple carbohydrates come from foods with refined sugar (yogurt, cakes, cookies, crackers) while complex carbohydrates come from grains and starchy vegetables. A mixture of both is healthiest for children.
Carbohydrates from this product are 10 g per serving with 8 g of that being from sugar.
The protein per serving is 2 g. This is not very high which may not keep the eater of this satiated as long.
To serve a healthier version of yogurt, find a yogurt that is higher in protein (such as Greek yogurt) and blend with fresh fruit of choice and maybe add a bit of honey for sweetness.