(NaturalNews) If you are a fan of the 1990s hit comedy series Seinfeld, perhaps you remember the episode in which Jerry and his friends began to suspect that the frozen yogurt sold in a store that Kramer has invested money in was responsible for the comedian's and Elaine's sudden weight gain. Jerry and Elaine have a sample of the alleged "non-fat yogurt" tested, and sure enough, it's loaded with calories. It's a scandal that goes all the way to the office of the Mayor-elect, Rudy Giuliani.
Well, fast forward a couple of decades since that episode first aired in 1993, and it appears as though some brands of yogurt still are not the healthy breakfast or snack choice they are made out to be. In fact, new findings show that many of the brands have much more sugar in them than some junk foods that you'd never consider eating, The Huffington Post reports.
According to the news site, the American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 36 grams of sugar a day, and women no more than 20 grams. If you eat, say, just one Hostess Twinkie cake, that will make a huge dent in the recommended daily sugar max; the cakes pack in 19 grams of sugar each.
There are better options
"A Twinkie is not worth it, not just because of the caloric content--150 calories is adequate for a snack--but because it lacks fiber, which will provide satiety over a period of time and because it is loaded with sugar, which will cause you to crash and become tired 15 minutes after you eat a Twinkie," Tracy Lockwood, a registered dietitian at F-Factor Nutrition, told Time. "You can choose so many other options, such as a handful of almonds or an apple and two table spoons of peanut butter, that will keep you full and will provide you with protein and fiber."
Well, as it turns out, many of the top-selling yogurts have much more sugar content than a Twinkie.
Part of the reason for the high sugar content is because it occurs naturally in yogurt; however, the amount of naturally occurring sugar varies dramatically depending on the kind. In an interview with HuffPo, Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS, said that low-fat yogurt, for example, has a reputation for being notoriously high in sugar. Other experts agreed, and suggested alternatives:
The first 17 grams of sugar per serving, in lowfat varieties, is naturally occurring lactose. In original yogurt, it's common to see anywhere between 12 and 15 grams of natural sugar, according to Heather Bauer, R.D., CDN. That's why Bauer recommends going Greek. Greek yogurt, she said, has as little as 6 grams in plain flavors.
What really boosts sugar content, however, is what folks tend to put into plain yogurt. Fruit -- and especially the high-syrupy kind that is put into store-bought yogurts -- is one of the most common causes of increased sugar. Also, once you begin tossing in candied nuts or, say, sweetened granola, you will quickly find that your concoction contains far more sugar than that found in a Twinkie.
"If you're going to add toppings, always stick to a plain flavor," Bauer said.
Would-be yogurt eaters will say that one of the big reasons why they don't care for plain yogurt is its bitter flavor. So, to make it more palatable to a wider group of people, just about all of the big brands -- think Dannon and Yoplait -- offer selections of yogurt containing fruits and sometimes even dessert-flavored choices.
And these sweet additions are usually what makes yogurts contain more sugar than a highly processed piece of yellow, creme-filled spongecake.
Some of the worst offenders:
-- Yoplait Original Strawberry
-- Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Blueberry
-- Stoneyfield Smooth and Creamy Lowfat French Vanilla