Too Good to Be Food: Yoplait Whips! Strawberry MistPosted on Aug 4th 2010 1:00PM by Keri Glassman
What's in It:
Lowfat Strawberry Yogurt (cultured, pasteurized, grade A, reduced-fat milk; sugar; nonfat milk; high-fructose corn syrup; strawberry puree; modified corn starch; kosher gelatin; natural flavor; potassium sorbate added to maintain freshness; colored with carmine, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3), Lactic Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides, Nitrogen.
The first ingredient is pasteurized, grade A, reduced-fat milk. Yogurt, by definition, is fermented milk that produces live active cultures promoting healthy bacteria in your gut. As a safety precaution, the FDA requires milk to be pasteurized and grade A to travel interstate. All looks OK so far. Let's see what's next: sugar, a natural sweetener, but not necessary to add to yogurt.
Nonfat milk also makes an appearance and ups the protein and calcium. Then comes the high-fructose corn syrup. Shouldn't the strawberries be the sweet source here? I think so. High-fructose corn syrup has been linked to the obesity epidemic and is prevalent in far too many foods that simply just don't need it -- e.g., yogurt.
The next ingredient is strawberry puree. Using real fruit to flavor and sweeten yogurt is great if only it could have been used to eliminate the other sweeteners. The next ingredient is modified corn starch, which does not make me say "throw it out" on the spot, but is a highly processed ingredient.
Next, kosher gelatin, a gelling agent derived from fish bones. Is that really necessary? Again, nothing harmful here, but yogurt in its natural state doesn't need a gelling agent. Natural flavor seems OK, but it is just a fancy way to say a secret flavoring used that is not disclosed to consumers. Next is potassium sorbate -- yet another preservative that is not needed.
Yoplait Whips lists three ingredients for color. The first, carmine, is the red pigment extracted from beetles to color the yogurt pink. Vitamin A acetate and vitamin D3 are also for color but do add a vitamin boost, as well. Next is lactic acid esters of mono- and diglycerides. Lactic acid is part of the fermentation process, so I am okay with that, but esters of mono- and diglycerides is a big no on my list. Its main function is to make a fluffy and airy consistency, but it is a highly processed, fat-laden ingredient that should not be in food.
Lastly, nitrogen. What is nitrogen doing in your food? Nitrogen helps to freeze the yogurt and preserve it.
This yogurt is too good to be food! I am tired just from reading that laundry list of ingredients! How many ingredients do you really need to enjoy the healthy benefits of yogurt and strawberries? Go for the real stuff -- nonfat Greek yogurt -- and sweeten it with fresh or frozen strawberries. If you want to enjoy a more decadent treat, add a teaspoon of agave or honey and a tablespoon of chopped pecans. Or, as Yoplait Whips suggests, freeze it! Just make sure it is the real thing.
Sat Fat: 2g
Trans Fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrate: 25g
Nationally recognized nutrition expert and published author of "The O2 Diet," Keri Glassman is the founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City. For years, Keri has been a leader in advancing a "whole person" approach to health and wellness. She has dedicated her career to creating services and promoting education through her Nutritious Life brand. You can be friends with Keri on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.