The other day my wife and I went grocery shopping. We picked up some “baby yogurt” labelled “#1 recommended by pediatricians” and organic. Upon further inspection when arriving home we found that the yogurt had 9 grams of sugar in it for a serving size of only 113 grams!. That’s not the worst part. 6 grams out of 9 are added sugars. That’s 67% of added sugar in an ORGANIC yogurt labelled for BABIES!
There are often added sugars in baby yogurt. Even in baby yogurts labelled organic. Sugar itself is organic, that does not make it healthy if it comes in the form of added sugars. Some brands contain 67% added sugars while only the other 33% being naturally occurring sugar coming from the yogurt itself.
Needless to say we were pretty surprised. We did not know if we should serve this to our baby. As always, we first did our own research to get educated on the matter and also we contact our pediatrician. Continue reading to see our findings.
Are added sugars in baby yogurt really that bad?
Added sugars in baby food are not healthy at all and should be avoided. According to the American Heart Association, children under 2 years of age should have ZERO added sugars in their diet. Many other authorities on the matter as well as our pediatrician agree.
The reasoning behind this is that added sugars in a baby’s diet are directly related to increased obesity and heart disease. Obesity and heart disease are interlinked and heart disease is the leading cause of death in America according to the CDC.
Babies naturally tend to like sweeter stuff. It is delicious after all. As parents we want to give our baby what they likes to eat. We have to be careful though and find a balance of healthy and delicious. When babies get a sweet tooth it is hard to get them to appreciate healthier more nutritious foods.
As an alternative, babies can eat all of the other various healthy fruits with so many health benefits as well as a sweet taste like bananas for example. There are various other foods that include natural sugars that are great for baby such as the ones listed in this article.
How much sugar does yogurt naturally have?
Yogurt naturally contains about 5 to 6 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup. This comes from the lactose in the milk. Seeing this on the nutrition facts should not be cause for alarm.
On the other hand, 9 grams of sugar, in which 6 grams are labelled added sugars is definitely cause for concern. That is 67% more sugar than your baby naturally needs.
Another thing to watch out for is the ingredients list. If it says organic cane sugar for example or just plain sugar. You can put it right back on the shelf if you do not want a product with added sugars. Organic does not mean healthy in many cases and the marketing can be deceptive.
How can a yogurt be #1 recommended by pediatricians but most pediatricians don’t recommend any added sugars in babies diet up until 2 years old? That is a question that definitely needs some looking into but it is best to do your shopping based on the nutrition facts and ingredients list and ignore the fancy marketing.
List of baby yogurt with no added sugars
SIGGI’S Banana Cinnamon Yogurt – This yogurt is a delicious option. It has no added sugars. Is is also gluten free. This is exactly the type of yogurt that we look for because it is not low fat. Babies constantly grow and need fat which helps that process so whole fat yogurt is always recommended.
Happytot Organics Banana Blueberry Yogurt – This yogurt is organic, delicious and still sweet enough for baby. It contains 9 grams of sugar in a 113 gram serving. That is about a 1/2 cup serving. With plain whole yogurt you can expect 5 grams per 1/2 cup serving. The additional sugar comes from the fruits. That is perfectly healthy and natural. No added sugars.
Plum Organics Kale, Strawberry and Greek Yogurt – Another great organic option with no added sugars. Very delicious as well as healthy.
By now you probably get the picture. Watch out for sugar on the ingredients list even if it is organic. Also watch out for added sugars on the nutrition facts. That’s about it.
This list was challenging to compile honestly. Added sugars in baby yogurt are super popular. Brands compete with each other and have obligations to their shareholders to increase profits/sales every year.
A way that helps them achieve that goal seems to be to get kids hooked on the sugar so they will love their product.
Which yogurts to avoid buying for baby?
Although we would love to write a list of yogurts we strongly don’t recommend for babies like the one we bought. We feel that it is better just to inform you what to look out for. That helps us not get sued also which is always nice. These corporations have tons of money.
Always watch out for clever marketing. “#1 recommended by pediatricians” etc. Fancy marketing on the ingredients list or nutrition facts can’t help these companies because those labels are regulated by the FDA.
The main points to look out for are sugar on the ingredients list and added sugars on the nutrition facts.
How to introduce baby to yogurt?
You can use any of the yogurts we listed above as well as finding baby yogurt in your local grocery while making sure the labels are in order and it is healthy for your little one.
Another great option is to buy plain whole fat yogurt. You can buy these in bigger containers. Saving you money and your baby the added sugars that are ironically common in baby yogurt brands.
Another thing we like to do is buy whole fat yogurt and add bananas, apples, mango’s or cinnamon in as well. You can get creative with it, every baby is different.
As always when introducing baby to new foods, make sure yogurt is the only new food in a 3 day period. This way if they have an allergic reaction you will know exactly what it is from.
How much yogurt should baby have per day?
1/4 cup of yogurt 1 or 2 times per day is fine for babies to have according to pediatricians and the Florida health department.
Our baby did not like it at first and that’s normal. She kept closing her mouth and turning away the first day but still took a few bites. The second day she loved it. We wanted to be persistent because of the health benefits.
Luckily we found a mix of yogurt with fruit that she likes and she would eat it all day if we let her. We don’t though because too much can cause constipation. Mixing yogurt with high fiber cereal is a great way to help prevent constipation if that is a concern of yours.
How to make sure babies other foods have no added sugars
Always check the labels on any food you buy for your baby. Make sure there are no added sugars on the nutrition facts and no sugar, cane sugar or any other variation of sweetener on the ingredients list.
We hope these tips helped ease your concerns about baby yogurts! Let us know some interesting ways you found to feed your baby yogurt in the comments!