Yogi Berra and the Yankees helped Yoo-hoo chocolate drinks become an American icon in the 40′s and 50′s. The sweet and refreshing chocolaty taste became a kids’ favorite across the nation.
When buying Yoo-hoo, many parents mistakenly think they are providing their children a healthy milk-based drink with a touch of sweetness from chocolate so to make it fun to drink. They don’t notice that Yoo-hoo is a “chocolate drink”, not a “chocolate milk”.
A look at the ingredient list shows that there is virtually no milk here, mostly water, sugars, a smidgen of milk by-products, and some chemicals. Oh, and a bit of cocoa too.
Yoo-hoo is not something to treat the kids to. Here’s why…
What you need to know:
If you are looking for nutrition and ingredient information on Yoo-hoo’s website, forget about it. When companies don’t share this information on their website, you can rest assured their product does not have much to boast on the nutrition front. Such is the case with Yoo-hoo.
Let’s begin with the ingredient list (22 items!):
Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Whey (from Milk), Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids, Cocoa (Alkali Process), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sodium Caseinate (from Milk), Nonfat Dry Milk, Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Vitamin A Palmitate, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Vitamin D3, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).
Water is the main ingredient followed by copious amounts of the highly debated High fructose corn syrup. Sugar and Corn syrup solids are also added to further sweeten this drink, just for good measure…
Notice that there is no liquid milk in here, only milk by-products such as whey (ingredient #3), sodium caseinate (#8), and non-fat dry milk(#9). Whey is the leftover liquid after milk is curdled into cheese. Together with sodium caseinate, they are a source of protein.
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (#7) appears ahead of the milk powder here. Why in the world do we need trans-fat in a drink?
Tricalcium Phosphate is a source of calcium, while Dipotassium Phosphate is an additive that is used to prevent coagulation. The Guar and Xantham gums serve as thickeners, providing a richer creamier mouthfeel despite the fact that this is a water based product. You can read more about soy lecithin, an emulsifier, here.
The nutrition facts:
Each 15.5 oz bottle contains two servings, but many people gulp the entire bottle down. Here’s the info per 8oz serving:
130 calories, with only 10 from fat and almost all the rest from sugars! 27 grams of sugar, the equivalent of just under 7 teaspoons!
There’s also 210 mg of sodium in here, almost 10% of the daily maximum value. This is something you wouldn’t expect in a sweet drink.
Trans-fat appears as zero because of a labeling loophole that allows 0.5 grams or less per serving to be rounded down to zero. But remember, if you see a partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list, expect trans-fat. And no amount is good for you.
All the vitamins and minerals have been tacked on to this drink, and do not appear naturally in the main ingredients.
What to do at the supermarket:
Ideally you should have your children drinking milk with their cookies, not a sugary concoction. But at some point after infancy, our kids tend to forget the pure milk flavor and demand a sweet flavor. So drinking plain milk is a challenge for many families.
Adding a teaspoon of instant cocoa powder is also fine because you control the sugar level. Another option is to buy chocolate milk and mix it half and half with regular milk to drive down the sugar levels.
New! Choose a better breakfast with CerealScan™ by Fooducate