How much sugar is in a Hershey’s bar? What about a Yoplait yogurt? So what do you think about a Cliff Bar? This is the question that faced those unwitting patrons who wandered over to my booth at the West Hollywood Health Fair this weekend. And there was something at stake for getting the answer right. One winner would be chosen at random out of the correct answers to win a free month of food coaching! (to be announced on my Facebook page.)
So how would you answer this question:
Which product has the most sugar?
Here are the suspects –
- Hershey Bar with Almonds (regular size)
- Cliff Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Bar
- Original Yoplait (pineapple)
So what is your answer?
Most of those who came up to my both were savvy enough to know this:
I wasn’t going to make it easy for them. For that reason, the Hershey’s Bar got the fewest votes. I would say about 70% of people who answered said the Cliff Bar. Good answer because the majority of protein bars are healthfully packaged candy bars. I’m glad to see that the patrons of the West Hollywood Health Fair were well aware of this.
And here is the final tally:
- Hershey’s Bar with Almonds – 19 grams of sugar
- Cliff Oatmeal Raisin Walnut – 21 grams of sugar
- Original Yoplait Yogurt (pineapple) – 27 grams of sugar
So everyone who said Yoplait, good job!
My goal was not to convince people that they should choose a candy bar over a yogurt for health snacking. Quite the contrary. It was to demonstrate that just because something is packaged by a marketing exec to make a product sound healthy, doesn’t mean that it will support a healthy weight or body.
If push came to shove, I would still choose the yogurt over the candy bar.
The yogurt has protein while the candy bar is nutritionally empty. But if I had the choice, I would get plain, unsweetened yogurt and add berries, banana, coconut, almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds or other nutrient rich options for sweetness and flavor. That option makes a great meal or snack, is nutritionally dense and can support weight loss.
Thank you to everyone who participated! I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you. And to the winners – congratulations! I look forward to working with you on your path towards a healthy life!
The sugar in yogurts like Yoplait is unbelievable. I got tuned into that fact when I was at my sister’s house and her kids were eating Trix yogurt. I looked at the label and was like, “Look at all the sugar in this stuff!”
That is so funny. I never knew there was Trix yogurt. That just sounds like it is going to be bad for you, doesn’t it?
Donna Janke says
I usually prefer to get the plain, unsweetened yogurt and add my own fruit. I don’t understand why so much sugar is added to a lot of the yogurts. It certainly isn’t necessary.
My imagination says that we started adding all this sugar to food so kids would eat it. Then you have kids growing into adults and they don’t know what food tastes like unless it is filled with sugar. You’re right though. It shouldn’t be necessary.
Erica – you beat me to the punch. I was thinking of doing a post about the surprising sugar content of some foods. We know yogurt is good for us therefore we often don’t bother checking the ingredients like we would if we were to buy cocoa-puffs for instance. This is the scary part – when we think we are choosing healthy foods to find they’re questionable. Good post with needed information.
Thank you Lenie. My favorite is when they package sugar breakfast cereal as organic or “naturally sweetened” so parents think they are doing something good for their kids. Advertising execs are sneaky aren’t they?
Marquita Herald says
I had no idea there was so much sugar in regular flavored yogurt but I can’t say I’m surprised with all the additives. I like yogurt – though I usually opt for Greek yogurt – but I normally get unflavored and add fresh fruit – now I’m really glad I do! Thanks for the information.
Sounds like you have good instincts Marquita! That option really is the best for you.
Ken Dowell says
Usually when I read your posts Erica my first reaction is “uh oh” because they usually point out something I’m not all that conscientious about. But I breezed through this one with a clear conscience. I don’t eat any of these, nor for that matter any candy bars.
Haha Ken! Glad you got this one right!
Beth Niebuhr says
It boggles my mind that yogurt so often comes loaded with sugar. We tend to make assumptions such as that “healthy” food will help us lose weight but it often isn’t the case. Read the labels: it’s the only way to know for sure.
You are so right Beth! And then “diet” yogurt comes filled with aspartame which actually helps you gain weight. It is frustrating when someone makes a choice because it is supposed to be healthy only to learn they had wrong information.
Who knew yoghurt is loaded with sugar! Oh dear . . .
I love my yoghurt. I need to start reading labels, it’s the only way to know for sure.
Great information Erica, thanks for this post.
We learn everyday
It is a great thing when we learn everyday! And there are healthy ways to eat yogurt so don’t despair. But yes, read labels. That will help!
Pamela Chollet says
Reading food labels is an eye opening experience. Especially reading labels of products labeled,”healthy” or “nutritious”. I’ve noticed a lot of my people at the gym drinking Propel fitness water. I was curious to find out why the water was such a big hit. I read the label and Propel “fitness” water contains sugar from high fructose corn syrup. In addition MSG and two artificial chemical sugar substitutes -I was amazed.
I’d never heard of Propel water but that does sound horrible. Hmmm, I wonder what in there actually makes it good for fitness? When I was training for a long distance bike ride some years ago, I was encouraged to take this product called “goo” to get me through when I needed extra energy. It was all sugar. I took it a couple times, had a quick burst of energy and then spent the next hour pedaling, feeling like I needed a nap.
I didn’t realize yogurt was so packed with sugar either however it would have been my pick just because it sounded the least likely. I eat a lot of yogurt but plain non-fat and then do exactly as you mentioned; real fruit, nuts, and seeds, flax, etc.
That is funny Tim. I thought more people would pick the yogurt for the same reason. I did pick the oatmeal raisin cliff bar on purpose, because oatmeal raisin also sounds wholesome. That might have tripped people up.
Meredith @ The Palette Muse says
Darn, I was hoping you were giving me permission to eat the candy bar! I think it’s a great idea to point out the ingredients of “health” foods, just so people can make educated decisions. I mean, if you’re going to go for 27 grams of sugar, you might as well make the most of it!
Haha, I like your attitude Meredith! It is true though. We are all going to eat sugar eventually. You might as well make it something you really love.
Speaking of yogurt, from time to time I snack on vanilla yogurt-covered raisins: how does this snack compare with actual yogurt (and those other ‘snacks’), sugar-wise?
Andy, while it varies from product to product depending on the exact ingredients, yogurt covered raisins are about as high in sugar as that yogurt. While fruit is a healthy form of sugar, once it is turned into dried fruit the sugar becomes more concentrated. For that reason raisins are high in a sugar that is absorbed by the body similarly to table sugar. And of course, the yogurt coating is also high in sugar. Having said that, when you eat sugar it should be something you really enjoy. If that is one of your favorites, there should always be some room for it in you diet.
It is quite surprising for me that yogurt has so much sugar. I just changed to brown sugar and I do not know, if now have to quit normal yogurt.
Thank you for information.
Glad this was helpful. I would choose the plain yogurt as much as you can to make it the way you like it.
Jason B says
That’s a lot of sugar in the yogurt. I thought it was supposed to be healthy.
Right? A lot of people think that way. There is a way to make any healthy food unhealthy if you try so you always have to read the label.
Mina Joshi says
I too thought that the yogurt would be the healthier option!! Thankfully, we have home made yogurt. I buy energy bars for my son but now will check the sugar content as we both thought that they were healthy.
That is great that you have homemade yogurt Mina! I have directions to make homemade yogurt, but I haven’t given it a go quite yet though that is potentially the healthiest option. And yes, read those energy bar labels for sure!
Susan Cooper says
I live Yoplait, but I definitely flunked this tests on sugars. Who would have thought? Wow! Well chocolate is another of my favorites. Guess I’ll switch to that now and then. Lol. But seriously, I usually I try to eat plain yogurt and add fresh fruit and nuts to cut down on sugar.