Yogurt and HFCS

>> Monday, October 20, 2008

Have you ever looked at the ingredients in a container of yogurt? Yogurt seems like such a healthy food, but it is typically loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients, and often artificial sweeteners and food dyes. We were shocked to discover how many yogurts contain HFCS when we started this journey. And if it doesn't contain HFCS, it probably has been replaced with an artificial sweetener (like Splenda or Nutrasweet). We're not giving up artificial sweeteners, but we are trying to limit our consumption of them, so yogurts that go the artificial sweetener route are kind of a turn off.

There are alternatives out there, though, and I want to talk about our favorite HFCS and artificial sweetener-free yogurt that we've found - Cascade Fresh All Natural Yogurt. Unlike most of the yogurts you'll find at the grocery store, the ingredient list for the Cascade Fresh yogurts is so amazingly simple. Take for example, Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free Lemon Burst yogurt. It was a favorite of ours back in the day. Here is its ingredient list:
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Lemon Pulp, Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Kosher Gelatin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.

Now, here's the ingredient list for the Cascade Fresh Fat Free Lemon Chiffon yogurt:

Grade A Pasteurized Non-Fat Milk, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Lemons, Tapioca, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Turmeric, Active Cultures.
Nice! I love that instead of using food coloring to enhance the color of the yogurt, they use natural ingredients - like turmeric in the lemon yogurt, and red cabbage and annatto in the strawberry yogurt.

These yogurts are not sugar-free. They're sweetened with fruit juice concentrate instead of cane sugar or HFCS, but a 6 oz container has 16 grams of sugar in it. Still, they taste good, so I can live with that sugar consumption, especially since we don't eat a ton of yogurt.

If you're a yogurt fan, give this brand a try! There are other brands out there that are HFCS free (like Brown Cow), but Cascade Fresh is by far our favorite - both for taste and simplicity of ingredients.


Meg October 20, 2008 at 6:49 AM  

I have been so frustrated with Yoplait because I love their flavors, but I don't like the HFCS. I have had Cascade and I love it!

m October 20, 2008 at 7:04 AM  

My wife made a move months ago with Yoplait because of the HFCS...nice reminder.

cathy October 20, 2008 at 7:17 AM  

What yogurt does your wife use now, Mark? We've tried a lot of different brands, and this is the first one that my son really likes. Happily, it's the adults' favorite too!

James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. October 20, 2008 at 7:51 AM  

Thanks Cathy for the research so I don't have to.

Does plain yogurt have similar ingredients?

Diana October 20, 2008 at 7:53 AM  

Thanks! I've been trying to find a non-HFCS yogurt. The greek stuff doens't, but it's more expensive than I can afford sometimes.

Isnt' it amazing what has HFCS? The worst was finding a bread that still tasted good.

Lori October 20, 2008 at 8:09 AM  

Sounds great, cathy. Where do you usually buy it? Is it at basic grocery store chains or only health food stores?

cathy October 20, 2008 at 8:40 AM  

Lori - it does look like it's sold almost exclusively in health food type grocery stores. Just perusing their store list (find it here: http://www.cascadefresh.com/stores.html), it looks like it's sold in most Wild Oats and Whole Foods, and lots of independent chains too. They have a request certificate that you can take to your grocery store if they don't carry it, so I would guess that it might not be impossible to get an individual store of a larger chain to get some for you!

fatfighter October 20, 2008 at 10:35 AM  

I've pretty much dumped all flavored yogurts and switched to plain Greek yogurt - I just add some honey and almonds to it, and it's all good.

Robin Plan October 20, 2008 at 1:17 PM  

I visited the Cascade website and was very pleased to learn their cows are pasture raised and treated humanely. I know this is off the topic of HFCS but still an important area for health.
Great post.

Dani October 20, 2008 at 3:22 PM  

We like Brown Cow and Stonyfield yogurt.

Rachel October 20, 2008 at 5:19 PM  

Oh! I need to find this. Because in our household artificial sweeteners are higher on the no-no list than even HFCS. (We all get headaches from it. Like dizzy, nauseated headaches.)

But we do love yogurt. We've generally eaten Mountian High yogurt, but I've not checked for HFCS. I plan to now.

cathy October 20, 2008 at 6:12 PM  

Fatfighter - Greek yogurt is thick, isn't it? I don't know that I've actually tried any before.

Robin - Nice to know!

Dani - for whatever reason, Brown Cow and Stonyfield just doesn't do it for us. They just don't taste quite right to me.

Rachel - Interesting about the sweeteners. Is it just Nutrasweet (aspertame) or is it Splenda (sucralose) and saccharine as well? If it's nutrasweet, I wonder if you have aspertame disease. One symptom of that is migraines upon consumption.

And I looked at Mountain High's website. They don't use HFCS, but they do use a little crystalline fructose. We've decided to cut that out of our diet as well, but you can decide whether you're comfortable with it or not! Otherwise, Mountain High seems like a good option.

MizFit October 21, 2008 at 3:15 AM  


Karen October 21, 2008 at 10:56 AM  

Love your blog. It's a mission I've been flirting with for a while... (You'll have to ignore my avatar- it's a terrible downfall of mine!)

As far as yogurt, I don't eat it but the kiddos do. They all like the YoBaby yogurt, but with 4 kiddos is prohibitively expensive.

My next-best-choice, commonly available, is Dannon All-Natural Lowfat Yogurt. (Ingredients: cultured grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, natural vanilla flavor, pectin) The kids all love it and it's relatively inexpensive!

I look forward to reading your blog from the beginning. I need some motivation!

cathy October 21, 2008 at 11:07 AM  

James - missed answering your question earlier. It depends on the brand. Many brands still put HFCS in their plain yogurt, but I think that you have a better chance of getting a HFCS-free yogurt if you go the plain route.

Karen - LOL at your avatar! I'm no saint, so no worries there! Thanks for the Dannon suggestion. We've tried a bunch, so I honestly don't know if we've tried that Dannon variety. Would love to hear more of your thoughts on past and future posts!

asithi October 24, 2008 at 2:46 PM  

Hey, I had a post about yogurt and it's sugar content last month talking about the same thing. I especially hate how they try to push yogurt to the kids because it is "healthy."

Watching my co-worker eat a Go-GURT yesterday, I cannot help but feel that we have been duped by marketing. Introduced in 1999, Go-GURT had a $10 million advertising campaign specifically targeting children between 8-12 years old.

CarolinaDreamz November 3, 2008 at 5:32 PM  

I have been choosing Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk, with sugar, lately. I've been adjusting muffin recipes, with it. I bought the plain, to make tzatziki, but didn't get to it, before it expired. *sigh*

I really like Fage, 5%. I can't remember the "sugar." The website says only 5 g carbs.. but doesn't list ingredients, that I can see, on quick glance.

I absolutely love eating Fage, with agave nectar. Its sinful.

Unfortunately, I love Australian yogurt, with real lemon juice. I'm trying to spend less on these obsessions, so I'm on a Stonyfield wagon, right now..

When my children were younger, we always chose a HFCS-free yogurt and let them add a first-foods baby fruit. It made it fun.

Real Tech Mom November 11, 2008 at 10:11 AM  

Hi Cathy,

Looked at Cascade and they don't export to Canada. Are there any other brands of Yogurt you'd recommend?

Heather April 14, 2010 at 11:50 PM  

Try Tillamook! But watch the ingredients. There are a few odd ones that do have HFCS, like Watermelon Kiwi. I like their fruit yogurts and the vanilla bean is flavored with turmeric. I think it's yummy and it is available at the Albertson's on our corner.

cameron June 6, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

It's gotten worse. Not only have yoplait started using artificial sweeteners, but in addition to the sucralose they are using acesulfame, AND HFCS. WTF? 3 sweeteners? Why in the world do they need to use THREE sweeteners? We really need to take food manufacturers to task for this.

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Anonymous April 20, 2014 at 3:18 PM  

does anybody have a recommendation now that cascade fresh is out of business? It was the only one that soothed my GI problems and yogurts like yoplait just taste like a spoonful of sugar to me...

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