Have you ever read the ingredient list for a typical mainstream yogurt brand? You’ll typically find a list that looks a lot like this example for strawberry yogurt:
Milk Nonfat Grade A Cultured, Sugar, Strawberries, Water, Contains 1% or less of the following: (Corn Starch Modified, Pectin, Flavors Natural, Fruit Juice, Vegetables Juice, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, Lactic Acid, L Bulgaricus, S Thermophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis)
Most of the yogurt available today in our grocery stores is promoted as a “diet” food option. Generally, you’ll find that most brands are low in calories and fat, while high in sugar and protein. Unfortunately, they also almost all contain controversial ingredients. And just about every fruit-flavored variety contains “natural flavors” (which are a long list of ingredients that manufacturers don’t need to disclose which can contain controversial items. Click here for details: http://www.foodfacts.com/the-facts/controversial/natural-flavoring. In the example above, while the yogurt contains actual strawberries, natural flavors are added to boost that flavor for consumers, making the product more flavorful and, therefore, more desirable.
FoodFacts.com has always had a problem with this idea. Yogurt really wasn’t a diet product back in the old days. It’s nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk. Lactose-intolerant individuals can sometimes tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products, because the lactose in the milk is converted to glucose and galactose, and partially fermented to lactic acid, by the bacterial culture. While its origins are unknown, it is actually ancient. The oldest writings mentioning yogurt are attributed to Pliny the Elder, who remarked that certain “barbarous nations” knew how “to thicken the milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity.” That would have been sometime before 79 A.D.
We’re pretty sure the yogurt that Pliny the Elder was talking about didn’t contain natural flavors – or carrageenan, in the example given above (or high fructose corn syrup or aspartame, or artificial food dyes – to name a few other ingredients you can find in different yogurt brands.)
So where do we find a fruity yogurt that’s made more like it used to be when Pliny the Elder talked about it back in the days of the Roman Empire?
We’re glad you asked, because we’ve got good news from Noosa. This is a relatively new yogurt (or yoghurt – according to Noosa) that was developed in and named after the Noosa area of Australia. It is termed Australian-style Greek Yoghurt and there’s good reason for us all to be on the lookout for these products.
We’ve got nine Noosa fruit flavored yoghurt varieties in our database. Exactly one of them contains one controversial ingredient (that would be the lemon flavor). That means you can choose from eight other varieties that contain absolutely nothing controversial at all. Try finding a fruit flavored yogurt that can say the same thing (it’s really difficult to do). So we wanted to spotlight Noosa Yoghurt and give them a big FoodFacts.com thumbs up!
Here’s the “not so” skinny on the products. The strawberry rhubarb flavor (which would compare to our mainstream brand example above) has a completely clean ingredient list. It’s not low fat or low calorie (so you’ll have to plan your daily diet to accommodate the product). The eight ounce container of strawberry rhubarb yoghurt contains 300 calories. It also contains 13 grams of protein and 29 grams of sugar.
Now before we condemn that sugar content, please consider that the mainstream brand example we used contains 18 grams of sugar. While that’s considerably less, it’s still rather high on the general sugar scale – but the point is, so are many yogurts on our shelves. And frankly, it’s at 300 calories, it really does fit in with a “diet” plan. This would work well as an under 400 calorie breakfast option.
Every single review of this product points decidedly in the absolutely delicious direction. Words like “thick”, “creamy”, “tastes like pie”, “really satisfying”, “you won’t feel hungry afterward” help you get the picture of a nutritionally rich, very flavorful yogurt option that’s actually a real product.
So, Noosa, we love this! Have to confess, though, that we’d love it a little bit more if you also carried a line that was lower in fat and sugar. FoodFacts.com really hopes you’re working on that! But in the meantime, kudos to you for providing us with fruity yogurt options with real ingredients.