Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So What’s Inside Yoplait Yogurt Anyway?

I wrote yesterday about Yoplait’s encouraging announcement, promising to use milk for yogurt only from cows not treated with growth hormones. Today I'll take a look inside Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt, a stalwart, and see what else is going on. Yoplait has a wonderful consumer website listing all its products, recipes, commercials, and community outreach programs. The good folks at Yoplait also conveniently provide nutrition information for each of their products. Highlights are:
Serving Size: 1 container/ 6oz / 170g
Calories: 170 (about 8% of your daily max)Calories from Fat: 15 (less than 3% of your recommended daily max)No fiber (shouldn’t strawberries have some though?)Carbs – 33 grams  (11% of the recommended daily value)Sugars – 27 grams (more than 5 teaspoons!!!)
A few vitamins and minerals to boot.
How unfortunate though, that an ingredient list is nowhere to be found. Have no fear, Fooducate is here, and so are the ingredients:
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, 
Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored with Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.
Yes, we’ve highlighted the added sugars, which I'll get to in a minute. 
The front of the yogurt label boldy claims it is  99% fat-free, leading a person to expect a very low calorie yogurt. Instead, 170 calories. Not a lot, but not close to zero either.
Note though, that 108 of these 170 calories are from sugar! In context: By weight, 17% of this product is sugar. 63% of the calories in Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt are from sugar!
Sounds more like a snack or treat than a health food.
The four sources of sugar in this yogurt (by their weight in the ingredient list) are yogurt/milk (lactose), table sugar, the strawberries themselves, and high fructose corn syrup (let’s not get into that controversy here today).
To be fair, one can purchase the Light version of this yogurt, artificially sweetened, and with only 14 grams / 64 calories from sugar.
To summarize, here’s 
what we would like to know:
1. what’s the fruit content as a percentage of the ingredients in the yogurt?
2. how much  sugar was added to this product, beside the natural sugars found in the yogurt and strawberries?
3. Just what are those natural flavors?
4. It would be nice to know just what 
Tricalcium Phosphate and Carmine are too, but obviously there is not enough room on the nutrition label. There’s certainly enough room on the website, though, so why not educate us consumers?
What to do at the supermarket:
Read, read, read the nutrition panel and ingredient list. You’ll be surprised how much better your choices can become.


  1. Why not buy a natural, organic, non-or-lowfat plain yogurt and add your own fruit or unsweetened/lightly sweetened organic preserves? That way you are in control of the ingredients. You'll be supporting the health of the planet, the sustainable food industry and yourself. And once you get used to eating real food instead of processed corporate chemical dreck, you'll probably be glad for the change!

  2. Carmine may be prepared from cochineal,[3] by boiling dried insects in water to extract the carminic acid and then treating the clear solution with alum. Other substances such as cream of tartar, stannous chloride, or potassium hydrogen oxalate can also be used to affect the precipitation, but aluminum is needed for the color. Use of these chemicals causes the coloring and animal matters present in the liquid to be precipitated to
    give a lake pigment. Aluminum from the alum gives the traditional crimson color to carminic acid precipitates, and these are called carmine lakes or crimson lakes.
    This color is degraded by the presence of iron salts. Addition of lime (calcium) can give carminic acid lakes a purple cast.[1]
    Other methods for the production of carmine dye are in use, in which egg white, fish glue, or gelatine are sometimes added before the precipitation.
    (Above from:


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