A study published in the journal Nutrients suggests that sugar levels in yogurts available in the United Kingdom have decreased by 13% in the past two years. Researchers examined product and nutrient information from 893 yogurts available in UK supermarkets and compared all products to a 2016 baseline survey.
The researchers found that the yogurts with the most reduction in sugar were children’s, drinks, and fruit yogurts. In addition, products labeled “low sugar”—containing less than 5 g of sugar per 100 g—increased from 9% in 2016 to 15% in 2019.
Researchers also found that the number of dairy alternative products had almost doubled in 2019 compared to 2016 and the products contained a varied level of sugar. While 37% of dairy alternative yogurts contained less than 5 g/100 g, 27% had more than 10 g/100 g, and 20% listed sugar as the second most common ingredient after water.
The study found that in the three years between the surveys, the change in products has been significant. In fact, 40% of products in 2019 were new. Of the 893 yogurt products included in the study, 32% showed reductions in sugar content, 61% showed no changes, and 7% showed a small increase in sugar content.
“This survey is a snapshot of the market at a particular time,” explained co-author Eiméar H. Sutton, who conducted this research while an undergraduate researcher at the University of Leeds’ School of Food Science and Nutrition, in a university press release. “The extent of market changes between 2016 and 2019 demonstrates that yogurt products and composition is a moving landscape but hopefully this shows we are on the right track … Some of the changes were already quite positive. For example, yogurts with added cholesterol-lowering plant stanols in 2016 were found to be extremely high in sugar but now we found many were among the top 20 products making the largest reductions in sugar content.”
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