Ambrosia? Yoplait’s New Greek Yogurt [Inside the Label]

Yoplait has a new Greek style yogurt out. There’s a massive marketing campaign tie in to the new Clash of the Titans movie and Athena portraying actress Izabella Miko. Strong woman eats good yogurt. Greek gods, Greek Yogurt, Yadda yadda…

The yogurt pack prominently displays “2X Protein..of the leading yogurt”. Wonder what that means. We decided to take a look inside the nutrition label and ingredient list to see if this yogurt is really healthy or just some more mythology…

What you need to know:

A serving is 6 ounces (170 grams) and will set you back 130 calories, none from fat. The sugar count is 18 grams, much lower than a standard Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt (27 grams). Of the 18 grams, 9 are naturally present in yogurt in the form of lactose. So the added sugar count is 9 grams or just over 2 teaspoons.

There’s no fiber, though you’d expect some from the fruit. There’s 12 grams of protein here, much more than in the standard Yoplait (5 grams). But protein is not an ingredient most people lack in the US. We get plenty of protein from other sources during the day. And the claim that it’s twice the protein as other leading brands is misleading, because Chobani Greek yogurt has 14g.

Here’s the ingredient list:

CULTURED PASTEURIZED GRADE A NONFAT MILK, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SUGAR, STRAWBERRY PUREE, KOSHER GELATIN, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, COLORED WITH BEET JUICE CONCENTRATE, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, , VITAMIN A ACETATE, VITAMIN D3.

The first and obvious ingredient is milk. Non-fat milk in this case. The second is an ingredient called milk protein concentrate, made by ultra filtering milk to take out the lactose and then dry it up into a powder. There’s a lot of controversy around this ingredient as it is mostly imported from countries with dubious food safety records, and may not even be from cows (think yak and water buffalo). So why add protein in this manner to the yogurt, when in any case it’s not something consumers really need?

Ingredient number 3 and 4 are sugar. Well actually number 4 is strawberry puree, but it’s lost all its fiber and vitamin C, so all you’re getting is a bit of strawberry flavor and a lot of sugar. By the way, the strawberry puree is not red enough, so there is added coloring from the beet juice concentrate. That’s fine, at least it is a natural colorant, and not some artificial dye or bug juice.

The gelatin adds a thickness or consistency that would not have been required from a full fat yogurt. It’s kosher, which means it was not derived from animal sources.[UPDATE: see comment below]

The last three ingredients are fortifications of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Always better to get them directly from food in which they are naturally present, not from add-on.

Summary: This yogurt is a better choice than the standard Yoplait option.

What to do at the supermarket:

As far as yogurts go, choose plain. It has less ingredients and less sugar. It lets you add fresh nutrient rich fruit of your choice giving you the added benefit of fiber and vitamins directly from the source, no fortifications.

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  • annie

    “By the way, the strawberry puree is not red enough, so there is added coloring from the beet juice concentrate. That’s fine, at least it is a natural colorant, and not some artificial dye or bug juice.”

    nope, nope nope….. it is very likely GMO sugar beet.. heavily riddled with roundup residues. why not mention that? i hope they ban that junk..

  • Michael

    From the International Vegetarian Union:
    “Kosher gelatin can be made with fish bones, and/or beef skins. Contrary to assumptions, it is also considered kosher to use it with dairy products. Kosher law is very complex and the bones and hides used in gelatin production are considered pareve. The general meaning of pareve refers to foods that are neither milk nor meat, and many people assume this means that the product is vegetarian. However, OU pareve certified ingredients can have animal products, such as fish, eggs, and gelatin, in them.
    “Kosher Gelatin Marshmallows: Glatt Kosher and ‘OU-Pareve’,” an article that appeared in Kashrus Magazine, explains the distinctions. A quote from the article is as follows:
    “…since the gelatin product is from hides or bones – not real flesh – and has undergone such significant changes, it is no longer considered ‘fleishig’ (meat) but ‘pareve’, and can be eaten with dairy products.” ”

    http://www.ehow.com/about_4617146_what-kosher-gelatin.html
    This site seems to say it can be vegetarian or it could be fish. From what I have read, if it says “gelatin” it’s animal product in some way. If it was from “carob beans, agar-agar, guar gum and xanthan gum” you would usually see it. Xanthan gum is on plenty of ingredient lists.

    And according to koshergelatin.com
    http://www.koshergelatin.com/kolatin.html
    “Real kosher gelatin is real (bovine derived) kosher gelatin. True gelatin is superior to other kosher gelling agents, such as fish-derivatives, carageenan, or agar agar.”
    So kosher really means nothing to a vegetarian, it could just mean that the animal products used are kosher.

    Which brings up the point of why do you need ground up animal hide in your yogurt in the first place?

    • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Editorial Staff

      @Michael thanks for the informative commentary. I’ve updated the post.

  • Shanna

    I LOVE that it has added protein – as a family of runners, including an 11 and 8 year old, we eat a lot of protein post run so this is awesome. BUT I’ll be sticking with the full fat version of plain yogurt and adding our own fruit. Too bad they’re trying so hard to make it good for us but still get a fail.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/madeingermany Marco

    I tried the plain version of this yogurt. It tasted so starchy and dry, I couldn’t eat it without added fruit.

  • Steve

    Stick with Fage brand greek yogurt. Fage is the original and now everyone is getting on the band wagon of Greek yogurt.

  • Jessica Roberts

    Or, you can make your own ‘greek’ yogurt. All you have to do is take some plain yogurt, put a coffee filter in a sieve and the sieve over a bowl, pour the yogurt in and let it sit for eight hours or so in the fridge. Tastes EXACTLY like Fage, but much cheaper. If that’s too much work, Fage is the best tasting, I think. Good luck!

    • Naoma

      Glad you like FAGE.  I’ve “converted” others to it in the supermarket.  Real Greek:  milk and cultures.  PERIOD.

  • Bill

    Jessica what you’re making is called Labneh. Simply removing the whey from regular yogurt doesn’t make it Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is made from simmered milk that has lost some water content before the cultures are added to make the yogurt. That is why it is so thick.

  • Al

    As I’m trying put to on muscle mass I appreciate the extra protein.

  • Naoma

    I used to make my own yogurt:  milk and a culture from a sugar-free yogurt.  Real Greek yogurt is milk and culture.  PERIOD.  No “dead” fruit nor sugar nor gelatin.  Why do people eat this stuff?  Eat FAGE (real Greek  yogurt)