Posted: 14 Dec 2010 04:13 AM PST
Big marketing move for General Mill’s Yoplait brand this week. The yogurt giant has reformulated its “Original” line of products by fortifying them with calcium and vitamin D. Calcium has moved up from 20% of the daily value to 50%, as has vitamin D.
Yoplait is also giving away 1 million cups of yogurt through a facebook campaign. Nice. Lots of PR. We’re writing about it too.
Is the calcium addition really important or is this just window dressing?
What you need to know:
Here is the product ingredient list:
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Pears, Modified Corn Starch, Nonfat Milk, Tricalcium Phosphate*, Kosher gelatin, Citric Acid, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Colored with Turmeric Extract, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3*
*Ingredients Not in Regular Yogurt
As you can see, the increase in Calcium and vitamin D is by adding these nutrients indiviually.
Calcium is important for bone health. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium better. Increasing the calcium and vitamin D levels in yogurt (that were already fortified with calcium and vitamin D) seems like a good idea.
But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. If manufacturers continue to fortify products, we will eventually reach a point where any edible item contains 100% of all our daily vitamin and mineral needs. We won’t need real food anymore…
You should ask yourself two questions:
- Without the fortifications, is this product still a healthy choice for me? Does it bring any nutrition built in?
- What foods can provide the nutrients my body needs, without resorting to fortification?
So how does Yoplait stand test?
Healthy choice? In general, yogurts are healthy choices. And yogurts can provide nutrients our bodies need, even without fortification. Just not 50% of the daily value in one sitting. If you’re saying to yourself that you are not getting enough calcium, and Yoplait will now solve your problems, challenge yourself to get the additional calcium from other foods that are naturally high in calcium. You’ll not only get the calcium, but also many other nutrients naturally found in that food.
But the biggest problem with flavored yogurt is the exorbitant amount of added sugar in the product. For example, the pear yogurt here has 26 grams of sugar. 6 grams are from the lactose in the milk used to make the yogurt. At best, another 8 grams are from the pears. Which leaves us with 12 grams, or 3 teaspoons of added sugar. That’s a lot of sugar to add to 6 ounce cup of yogurt. And 48 additional calories. You wouldn’t add 3 teaspoons of sugar to a plain yogurt, would you?
What to do at the supermarket:
Yogurt should be incorporated into your daily diet. But opt for the non-flavored kinds. Add your own flavoring and control the added sugar by simply tossing in berries, dried fruit pieces, or a teaspoon of honey.