Sugar in Food: Sweet Yogurt

“Not so much sugar,” say the pull-off labels that are wrapped around Siggi’s Icelandic Style Skyr yogurt containers.


We estimate that each (5.3 oz.) tub of Siggi’s flavored 0% and 2% yogurts has just 1½ teaspoons of added sugar. Compare that with the estimated 3 to 4 teaspoons that most companies add to their flavored yogurts (or the 5 or 6 teaspoons in most greeks that come with honey in a separate chamber).

Instead of a heavily sweetened dose of goopy fruit, Siggi’s offers just the honest-to-goodness flavor of pomegranate, passion fruit, blueberries, or other fruit. And a serving of Siggi’s has only about 100 calories (yet 14 grams of protein). It’s the closest you can get to mixing your own fruit into plain yogurt. Exception: Siggi’s 2% Coconut has 200 calories and 10 grams (half a day’s supply) of saturated fat.

Why all the sugar “estimates”? Because companies don’t have to disclose on their Nutrition Facts labels how many grams of sugar they’ve added and how many are naturally occurring in their milk or fruit ingredients.

Of course, “light” yogurts cut calories by replacing added sugars with (very sweet-tasting) artificial sweeteners. But acesulfame potassium and aspartame are poorly tested, and a new (still unpublished) mouse study suggests that sucralose (Splenda) may also be unsafe. Caution: Yoplait Greek 100 Calories is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium (in addition to sugar), but you wouldn’t know that without studying the ingredient list.

What to do? If unsweetened yogurt is too tart for your taste (even with added fruit), try adding Truvia, a natural sweetener that you can buy in packets or tubs. Or mix an unsweetened yogurt with a sweet one.

Or try Siggi’s. Yum.


Other relevant links:

50 Replies to “Sugar in Food: Sweet Yogurt”

    1. Please be careful equating lazy with fat. I work everyday to control my food quality and intake, yet I am fat. I seek assistance from dieticians and nutritionists, yet I am fat. I keep food journals and consider it sacrilege to miss writing down even a small bite. I buy whole foods and cook them myself. I weigh and record everything. Yet, I remain fat. I do yoga and walk on a treadmill daily. I rise at 5 am and rest only after midnight. I rarely sit for more than an hour unless I am traveling. Yet I am fat. I stick to a 1200 calorie diet to maintain my weight. I can go without eating for 24 hours and my blood sugar will be over 200. Do not say all fat people are lazy. I for one am working very hard to keep my weight down. What would I weigh if I did not work so hard. It scares me.

      1. Jean, i commend you on your excellent diligence to stay healthy. I do see you are not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation sabotages weight loss. Don’t give up!

      2. Thank you so much for your post. You and I are dealing with somewhat the same situation. I have been journaling, working with a personal trainer 4 times a week for two years, doing cardio on 2 free days, cutting calories, increasing calories, adjusting medication, working with a nutritionist, trainer, two doctors, preparing my own whole foods, but lose 2 and gain 2. I am so frustrated. I am sorry that you are in this boat with me but am relieved to discover that another human being has the same syndrome. As my people tell me, keep doing what you are doing and be patient because everything you are doing makes you healthier in the long run.

      3. Hi Jean,

        I just want to commend you on your post and your diligence. I am a Health Coach and rarely meet people as committed as you are to your health goals. Brava!! You’re a role model and light years from lazy! 🙂
        Although this is not the ideal forum, nor do I know you enough to truly advise, if I may offer two suggestions? You’re doing all of the right things, the key to your success may be in what you’re not doing:
        1. You may not be sleeping enough. Going to sleep after midnight and waking at 5am doesn’t allow enough time your body to recover, reset and metabolize.
        2. Re: your blood sugar, different people have different tolerances to sugar. You can use the glycemic index as a guide, but may want to use a glucometer to test your reaction to foods. It’s important to consider your own bio-individuality. For example, eating blueberries may spike one’s blood sugar, whereas for most other people, it’s low on the index and a safe sweet fruit.
        I hope this helps? Cheers to your continued success!

      4. Jean, be sure to get enough sleep as well. Research has tied less than optimum sleep with weight gain (if I recall the research correctly), plus mental well being. Good on ya, gal!

    2. Shameful, Gary. Your comment makes most everything else you say ineffective as most of us will shut you out as an intolerant bigot who judges based on outward “fatness,” not on the level of effort we are putting out to be healthy.

    3. I don’t think there is a commercial true non-sugary preserve. Most add apple or something to sugar it up. The low-sugar ones contain the artificial sweeteners they are talking about here, as far as I can tell. I have looked. The best thing is to add your own fresh or frozen fruit.

    1. I have found it regularly at Whole Foods, also Giant Eagle Market District.
      A bit pricey but you can buy the most inexpensive plain Greek yogurt and add your own flavorings. I add some pumpkin butter or apple butter and spices.
      Keeps the sugar content down to a reasonable level.

  1. …..”a new (still unpublished) mouse study suggests that sucralose (Splenda) may also be unsafe. Can’t we wait until the mouse study is published before we poison the well?

  2. Great yogurt. Very expensive. Buy Fage 0% plain, mix in one tablespoon of pure maple syrup or a tablespoon of raw honey or a tablespoon of fruit juice sweetened preserves. 1/2 the cost for very high quality thick yogurt.

    1. A tablespoon is still three teaspoons (three sugar cubes), which I think is too much added sugar for one portion. Limit added sugar to one teaspoon and add fruit. Develop your taste away from added sweet.

    2. I use Fage or Costco’s non-fat Greek yogurt. I add:

      1 sliced banana
      a bit less then 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
      fresh or frozen blueberries

      That makes a delightful lunch with a few fresh veggies thrown in.

    3. Instead of adding one tablespoon of maple syrup, honey, or fruit spread sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, add only one teaspoon. One tablespoon equals three teaspoons. That’s entirely too much for a small carton of yoghurt. If you eat so much sugar on a regular basis, you will end up with diabetes.

    1. You buy them at whole foods or trader joes. Commercial grocery stores do not carry Siggis yogurt. Health food stores only unfortunately

  3. Wow! And I thought I was doing so good with my established yogurt intake – I am perusing the label on my yogurt now. {sigh!}. Eating healthy ain’t always easy! Thanks!

  4. Making your own yogurt is very easy and fun, too. I’ve been doing so since 1971. YOU control (or eliminate)the sugar, fat and dyes in commercial products and it saves you a lot of money, too. If you want Greek yogurt, strain it through cheesecloth and save the whey for a drink. I prefer whole milk. The bacteria thrive in the fat. If you make yogurt with 0% or 2% milk you will need to add a thickener like gelatin so I just use 4% milk.

    1. Seems to me that a recent study linked whole milk to more aggressive prostate cancer, but I suppose that is not a concern for you.

  5. I recall in one of your past issues that you discouraged using TRUVIA as a sweetener because some studies have indicated it may contribute to cancer….have you changed your position?? (T/f, I have not used it)

  6. I use Dannon OIKOS Greek plain nonfat yogurt (6g sugar and no artificial sweetener). I add about two dozen raisins and a dozen pistachios to half a container. I find it very good and I think very healthy.

  7. Regarding the struggle to lose weight, I saw a new book at the library that Jean may wish to explore. I have no other information about it and have not tried it, so I cannot “recommend” it, but I thought of it based on what Jean said. I think it was about re-setting your metabolism.

    The fast metabolism diet : eat more food & lose more weight / Haylie Pomroy ; with Eve Adamson.

  8. I live in Canada so a lot of these brands mean nothing to me. It would be nice to get the information that applies to us. I find this is the case with a lot of these emails.There is still interesting information but the brand
    thing is rather frustrating. Is there a Canadian version ?

  9. I often just ditch the sweetness entirely and eat Fage Total as a dip with sliced cucumbers; refreshing and satisfying.

  10. The best bang for your buck is Costco plain Greek Yogurt with added fresh or frozen fruit with a smallish amount of added nuts for good fat (this yogurt is fat-free) in order to make use of several vitamins and minerals that need fat to be used by the body, including the calcium in the yogurt! Cinnamon or a very little instant coffee add flavor too. Several of the posts have shown that blanket insults can not only be unnecessarily hurtful, but also wrong.

  11. As you stated, there is added sugar and naturally occuring sugar. Milk has sugar naturally. It is not going to be sugarless, except perhaps if its lactose-free. I love yogurt with pineapple and walnuts or almonds: combining protein with healthy fat and carbohydrates is what I’ve seen recommended.

  12. Back to the original comment about fat people being lazy:

    We now have so much information about the medical side of obesity, not to mention how socio-economic situations, built environments (i.e no sidewalks, communities created in a way to discourage walking and biking safely), and policies (i.e no PE required in schools) impact obesity. Also, there is a lot of research that supports the concept of food addiction. But, the challenge is we have to eat to live. We don’t have to smoke cigarettes or do cocaine to live. Obesity is now classified a medical condition, just as heart disease and cancer are medical conditions.

    Our society as a whole needs to stop looking at obesity, or an obese individual, with scorn. We wouldn’t dare look at a woman with breast cancer or a young child with leukemia with scorn. And, yes, many of the recipients of this score are obese children. And, without the proper support that a child needs to grow and be healthy, this obese child will grow to be an obese adult. Children deserve better!

    There are many adults in our society who are technically “obese” based on their BMI (which has it’s own limitations in my honest opinion), and are perfectly healthy otherwise. Many of who consistently run 5Ks, 1/2 marathons, and full marathons. I would not consider that lazy…

    We need to move away from the judgement based solely on how a person looks. The conversation needs to be about our health. We all come in different shapes and sizes, some will always be on the thinner side and some will always be on the heavier side. We need to, as a society, move away from the constant struggle to achieve an unrealistic body shape/size that was never intended genetically. We need to stop dieting, depriving, and feeling bad for not achieving this unrealistic goal. It’s this vicious cycle that further exacerbates obesity, and then many other health problems follow behind.

    Lastly, we need to move away from the diet industry as a whole. Diets don’t work. Diet pills don’t work. Losing 10 pound over a weekend is stupid, unrealistic, and downright hard on the body. Being healthy and having a healthy body weight for you individually takes eating well and being physically active. It also takes hydration, sleep, laughter, family and friends, etc. It doesn’t take perfection, but it does take perspective. It takes a realization that many of our choices as a whole on a day to day basis add up, and can add up to health.

  13. Lifelong fruit person,little starches, I weigh within 4 lbs.
    of my army weight 1945. I do play 1 1/2 to 3 hours of tennis
    3 days a week, 52 weeks a year. I eat what ever probiotic, yogurt on sale. Just lucky, I guess.

  14. Look at Kroger “Carb Master”, lowest in sugar and has a great variety. Also very inexpensive as compared to other brands. I have not seen a low carb brand in other local stores including Fresh Market.

  15. Fruit juices hit your system like sugar or alcohol, so it it much better to use whole mashed or cut up fruit. The fiber in juices has been beaten up and cut so small it doesn’t have the fiber benefits of whole fruit. Our Costco has a quart of 0% Fage for $4.31.

  16. I enjoy Kalona yogurt which has in it’s 2% Vanilla 6g of sugar, 6g of protein, 102 calories and 80mg of sodium in it’s 6 oz container! The Peach has in it’s 2% 8g of sugar, 6g of protein, 107 calories and 80mg of sodium. Siggi’s is my second choice but I believe it’s plain has 8g of sugar, am not looking at the label.
    I buy the Kalona at Fresh Market.

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