Oct 10, 2017

"Flavoured Greek yoghurt" sham


 Over the past one week, I have been vehemently searching for this one product in the supermarket but I couldn’t get hold of it. It was out of stock every time I was checking out the dairy section. The motive was not to buy and taste it but to check out the ingredients list :-) Yes, I’m talking about the widely promoted Greek Yoghurt.

It’s anyone’s guess how I came to know about this product….yep, yet another food blogger who was sharing pictures last week from a food blogger event to promote “Danone Greek Yoghurt”. Even after unfollowing many popular food bloggers, there are still a few lurking around in my Instagram timeline promoting such junk without any conscience. 

Anyway, what caught my attention was this hashtag - #thehealthyswap

When brands launch junk foods with taste as their promise, I don’t care much, but if they use “health” as part of their promotions, then I had to check out the ingredients and of course, I had to write about it.

First, what is Greek Yoghurt? Why there are so many brand launches in the past year - Nestle’s Grekyo, Epigamia and now Danone?

Greek Yoghurt is made using the similar milk fermentation process followed for making regular yoghurt. It is then strained to remove liquid whey, leaving behind a thicker, creamier yoghurt. 

Because of its thicker consistency, 
- greek yoghurt supposedly has twice the protein as compared to regular yoghurt

Given the “high protein” craze that has taken over the urban, “health-conscious" population, it is no wonder that so many brands of Greek Yoghurt are lined up in the supermarket shelves.

Let’s first look at Danone fruit flavoured yoghurt:

It is promoted as a high protein snack with real fruit pieces. What a pickup line for parents who wish their kids eat real fruit !!

Ingredients List:
Pasteurized Double Toned Milk,
Fruit Squash {(10%) - Blueberry (50%), Sugar, Water}
Sugar
Grape Juice Concentrate
Active Culture

Blueberry is only 5% of the total ingredients. Given the huge cost of imported blueberries, we can’t expect more quantity. The purple colour is from the “grape juice concentrate”. Unless you read the ingredients list in tiny font, you won’t be able to guess it.

Take a look at sugar that is listed TWICE. As per the nutritional information, it contains 12 gm of sugar per 100 gms, which means the 80 gm pack has around 2.5 tsp of sugar.

Let’s also look at the promise of "High protein" - The 80 gm pack has a measly 4.8 gm of protein.

100 gm serving of whole moong dal has 24 gm of protein (Source)
100 gm serving of horse gram (Kollu) has 22 gm of protein 

A typical Indian vegan meal provides us with enough protein. We don’t need such cleverly marketed sugar-loaded junk foods that cling onto latest diet fads. 

I also checked out Nestle’s Grekyo. The ingredients were hardly visible in the purple background. Listing them down here for a clear view:
Ingredients List:
Double toned milk,
Milk solids,
Fruit syrup {(10%) [Sugar, blueberry (2.2%), Apple Juice, Stabilizer (440), Preservative (202), Colour (163{ii))}
Sugar,
Culture (Contains Lactobacillus Lactis)

Apart from sugar being repeated twice, there are also additives such as stabilizer, preservative and artificial colour.

This pack is also loaded with sugar - 14.4 gm per serving size (around 3.5 tsp of sugar).

% GDA per serve shows 16% next to sugar.  

In fine print, it is mentioned:
“Guideline Daily amounts (GDA) of an average adult. Servings should be adjusted for children of different ages"
Who eats flavoured yoghurt mostly - our innocent children for God’s sake. Imagine the sugar overload on them, if they gobble up an entire pack. It’s not just with the recently launched Greek Yoghurt brands. Check out any flavoured yoghurt and you would notice the obscene amount of sugar - 13 gm in Danone mango flavoured yoghurt (which translates to 3.25 tsp of sugar). I have seen many parents loading their shopping carts with 6 packs of flavoured yoghurt every week. 

Let’s stop this craze towards milk and milk based products. Our children can get enough protein from cereals, lentils, nuts and seeds.

Update (on 30th Nov 2017):


Some of you had asked me to include the newly launched Epigamia as part of this article. I finally managed to take a look at Epigamia flavored greek yoghurt that’s been promoted big time by food bloggers.

It is marketed as a “high protein, low fat snack”.

The 90 gm serving pack of blueberry flavoured version has around 6.68 gm of protein which is slightly higher than that of Danone (4.8 gm of protein). The unflavoured, Epigamia “natural" greek yoghurt has 8.21 gm of protein. 

Let’s compare the protein value with healthy plant-based vegan foods.
100 gm of almonds contain 18 gm of protein
100 gm of cashews contain 19 gm of protein
100 gm of peanuts contain 23 gm of protein 

Apart from protein, these foods provide good fats, vitamins and minerals. 100 gm of puffed rice (pori) contain 7 gm of protein WITHOUT any added sugar, whereas Epigamia blueberry flavoured greek yoghurt comes with 8 gm or 2 tsp of sugar.

Ingredients listed are
- Pasteurized double toned milk
- Processed blueberry pulp (black grapes - 40%, blueberry fruit - 12%, sugar, water, Stabiliser & thickener - pectin E440, acidity regulator-malic acid E296)
- milk solids
- Stabiliser & thickener - pectin E440
- Added active live cultures
- Permitted natural colour (E163c/E160c)

1) The quantity of black grapes is higher than that of blueberries. So ideally, it should have been named "black grapes flavoured greek yoghurt”, but that doesn’t really give a premium feel to the product like “blueberries”.
2) Pectin (E440) is derived from natural sources and used as a thickening agent in jams, jellies and sauces. Large quantities of consumption may cause intestinal discomfort or flatulence.
3) Malic acid (E296) can be made either synthetically or derived from fruit. Research says that infants and young children should avoid it. High concentrations are not permitted in infant food, as small children lack the capacity to metabolise large amounts of malic acid.
4) Natural colours used are
Malvidin (red-blue) -- E163c (derived from red grapes, berries and black rice)
Paprika (red) -- E160c  
I have no clue about the processing required to extract these colours. 

Sources:

4 comments:

Sundhara Sugumaran said...

Great blog! I sometimes even doubt the authenticity of green tea, every brand these days come up with green tea. Your reviews on that please :)

harshitha reddy said...

What about comparing epigamia in case you chance across it

Anuradha Sridharan said...

Thank you Sundhara....Green tea is overhyped too. Unless there is an independent research, we won't be able to know its authenticity or quality. Many people fall for it, thinking that drinking green tea 4-5 times a day will help them lose weight.

Harshitha, Will check out epigamia when I come across it.

Anuradha Sridharan said...

@Harshitha, I have updated the post with Epigamia. Do check it out.

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