The myth of yogurt-covered foods


Yogurt-covered pretzels

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It’s one of the oldest tricks in marketing — slap a healthy-sounding name on something that isn’t really all that healthy and then wait for shoppers to eat it up. Yogurt-covered foods, which seem ubiquitous at retail these days, fall into exactly that category. These snacks aren’t half as healthy as they sound, but we’re willing to bet a lot of consumers think the exact opposite.

Yogurt-covered foods, such as pretzels, raisins and cranberries, are often sold in the bulk section of grocery stores, where everything from M&Ms to pecans can be purchased in whatever quantity you like. Other stores carry these foods in pre-packaged plastic containers that are often devoid of any sort of labeling, save for the food’s name, weight and price. As a result, consumers often don’t have a clue what ingredients went into these snacks or what their nutritional content is.

We’ve got some news for you — and it’s not good.

After snacking on some yogurt-covered pretzels from a neighborhood grocery store, we recently thought it would be a nice idea to find a recipe and make our own at home. Imagine our surprise, however, upon discovering one such recipe that calls for one bag of pretzels, two cups of yogurt and five — yes, five — cups of confectioners’ sugar.

Upon further investigation, we discovered the nutritional damage extends to yogurt-covered fruits as well. One serving of yogurt-covered raisins from Sunmaid contains the same amount of sugar as a serving of Milk Duds, that favorite candy of moviegoers everywhere. That amount, 19 grams, equals close to five teaspoons of sugar per serving — almost the maximum amount of sugar the World Health Organization recommends an adult consume on a daily basis.

Sugar, which is added to everything from pasta sauces to cookies to frozen pizza, continues to play a major role in the American diet. Sugary drinks like soda and vitamin water fill consumers up with empty calories — calories that have virtually no nutritional value whatsoever. Eating too much sugar has been linked to a host of health problems, from the formation of cavities to an increased risk of heart disease, and consumers often don’t even realize how much sugar they are actually ingesting.

While yogurt-covered foods are loaded with sugar, they do have some redeeming nutritional value. Fruits in this category are a good snack in moderation, as they often contain iron, potassium, calcium and Vitamin C. Even in small amounts, some vitamins and minerals are better than none.