Flavoured yoghurts hide up to 7.5 tsp sugar per serving: survey


Health experts reveal how to avoid a dessert in disguise

Some flavoured yoghurts sold in major supermarkets are hiding as many as 7.5 teaspoons of sugar per serving[i], making them more of a dessert than a healthy snack, new research from LiveLighter has revealed.

More than half of almost 200 flavoured yoghurts surveyed contained more than 3 teaspoons of sugar per 100g, which exceeds the amount LiveLighter would recommend in a yoghurt.

LiveLighter Program Manager and Dietitian Alison McAleese said yoghurt is a nutritious, calcium-rich snack, however some are packed with excess sugar or cream.

“Our research has found that some manufacturers are turning yoghurt – which is a healthy food – into a dessert by adding excessive amounts of sugar or cream. Some yoghurts contain a whopping 7.5 teaspoons of sugar in just one small 160g tub, or 4.5 teaspoons of sugar per 100g, which is almost as much sugar as ice cream[ii], while other yoghurts contained added cream,” Ms McAleese said.

“What’s more, manufacturers are promoting these yoghurts as low in fat, diet, natural and high in probiotics, so it can be really confusing for shoppers to know which ones are genuinely good and which are desserts in disguise.”

LiveLighter surveyed the nutritional content of 265 yoghurts sold in Coles and Woolworths in March 2017. Of the 197 flavoured/sweetened[iii] yoghurts included in the survey, 108 (or 54.8 per cent) contained more than 12g (3 teaspoons) of sugar per 100g.

Among the worst offenders were Gippsland Dairy Choc Cherry Twist with 7.5 teaspoons of sugar in a small 160g tub and Tamar Valley Dairy’s Greek style yoghurt raspberry flavour with 7 teaspoons of sugar in a 170g tub. Among the lowest-sugar flavoured yoghurts were Rokeby Farms whole protein Swedish style quark yoghurt coconut with 2.8 teaspoons of sugar per 170g tub and the Ski D'Lite real yoghurt 25% less sugar strawberry with 3.4 teaspoons of sugar in a 150g tub.

The survey also included 39 unsweetened yoghurts, including Greek, plain and natural varieties, and 29 children’s yoghurts.

Ms McAleese said yoghurt contains lactose, which is a naturally occurring sugar, but it’s the added sugar Australians need to look out for.

“Unfortunately in Australia, food manufacturers aren’t required to specify how much added sugar is in their products, which makes it really difficult for shoppers looking for a yoghurt with no or little added sugar,” Ms McAleese said.

“As a general rule of thumb for fruit-flavoured yoghurts, check that the total sugar content is under 12g per 100g – 6g of that is likely to be lactose, while up to 6g may be fruit[iv]. Anything more is likely to be added sugar.”

Heart Foundation Victoria CEO Kellie-Ann Jolly said yoghurt is a great source of calcium, protein and carbohydrates, but there are some things to look out for when deciding which products to buy.

“Reduced-fat Greek, natural or plain yoghurts are best as they tend to have less sugar and saturated fat than flavoured varieties. You can then make your own flavoured creations by adding some fresh or frozen fruit, a sprinkle of cinnamon or some chopped nuts and seeds,” Ms Jolly said.

Dairy is an important part of a healthy and balanced diet and foods in the dairy group provide nutrients that are essential for our health[v]. But too much added sugar in our diet can contribute to weight gain and obesity, and an increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

“We want people to be clued up on the healthiest yoghurt choices so they can enjoy them regularly,” Ms Jolly said.

LiveLighter’s tips for choosing a healthier yoghurt:

  • If you’re looking for a healthy sweetened yoghurt, choose reduced-fat products with less than 12g of sugar per 100g.
  • As for plain, Greek or natural yoghurts, choose reduced-fat varieties which have a lower energy density and are lower in saturated fat.
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain yoghurt, add fruit, nuts or seeds for flavour.
  • Avoid plain yoghurts with ‘cream’ in the ingredients list as they are more likely to be high in total and saturated fat.
  • While low in sugar, coconut yoghurts are extremely high in fat and energy and low in calcium.
  • Plain yoghurt can also be used instead of sour cream, cream or salad dressings.
  • Don’t rely on the label – learn to read the nutrition information panel and ingredients list.
  • For more tips, see our blog post on choosing a healthy yoghurt.

Small tubs: 10 of the highest-sugar flavoured yoghurts


Serving size

Energy (kJ)

Saturated Fat (g)

Sugar (g)

Sugar (teaspoons)

per serving

per 100g

per serving

per 100g

per serving

per 100g

Per serving

Per 100g

Gippsland Dairy Choc Cherry Twist Yoghurt 160g










Gippsland Dairy Boysenberry Twist Yoghurt 160g










Vaalia 3x Probiotics Yoghurt Lemon Crème, 1.3% fat 150g










Tasmanian Tamar Valley Dairy Greek Style Yoghurt Raspberry 170g