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    You Ask, I Answer: Red Mango

    When you blogged about Red Mango frozen yogurt, you endorsed it as a healthy treat.

    I also saw that in your recent ConAgra children’s frozen meal post, you commented negatively on the 18 grams of sugar it contained.

    A small, original (plain) Red Mango yogurt also has 18 grams of sugar.

    So now I’m slightly confused — is Red Mango good or bad? How can 18 grams be good in one thing, bad in another?

    — Lexi (last name withheld)
    New York, NY


    One of my biggest grips about food labels is that they do not differentiate between naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars.

    Naturally-occurring sugars are found in fruits and vegetables (in the form of fructose) as well as dairy (as lactose).

    Added sugars (mostly in the form of sucrose) are added on to foods during processing.

    Although naturally-occurring and added sugars offer the same number of calories (4 per gram), naturally-occurring sugars are different in the sense they “come with the package.”

    When you bite into an apple, you are getting sugars along with vitamins, minerals, and a wide variety of health-promoting phytonutrients (some of which we have yet to discover!).

    If you eat the same amount of sugar naturally found in an apple in the form of table sugar, you are getting empty calories (they are void of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.)

    In the case of Red Mango, the 18 grams of sugar refer to naturally-occurring AND added sugars. Approximately 10 to 12 of those grams are naturally-occurring, so you’re only getting 6 to 8 grams (1.5 to 2 teaspoons) of added sugar.

    By the way, I have a slight problem with Red Mango referring to their original flavor as “plain”, since plain flavors of regular (non-frozen) yogurt do not have any added sugar.

    In any case, this is very different from that frozen meal I posted about, which got its 18 grams of sugar from the chewy candies it offered as dessert.

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