yogurt

THE PROBLEM WITH ORGANIC YOGURT

It’s too high in carbs.

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In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE SCIENCE

A new study published in the journal BMJ Open found that most yogurts (including organic, Greek, and flavored ones) sold in the U.K. have more sugar per 1/2-cup serving than the healthy limit of five grams. Surprisingly, organic types were the worst culprits, with an average of 13.1 grams per serving.


It’s not just a problem overseas. In the U.S., several organic yogurts have 11, 12, or even 15 grams of sugar per serving.
EXPERT INSIGHT

There might be a legitimate explanation for why the sugar content is often higher in flavored organic yogurts than conventional ones: Organic varieties contain more live cultures, which produce a sour taste, explains study author J. Bernadette Moore, Ph.D., associate professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Leeds in England. Manufacturers might add extra sugar to mask that flavor.

Moore’s research calls attention to the halo effect, a cognitive bias in which you assume because a product has one trait, it must also have others. Organic yogurts aren’t inherently healthy, though they do have more iron and polyunsaturated fatty acids (like linoleic acid) than conventional ones.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Always check the label instead of relying on buzzwords to tell you what’s healthy and what’s not. Whether you choose organic or not, go for plain varieties with no added sugar.