You Should Never Eat The New Skittles Yoplait. A Nutritionist Explains Why

Yogurt has been on America's radar as a health food at least since the 1970s, when an effective TV ad campaign by Dannon led viewers to think that a bunch of people in Georgia (the Soviet Union, not the state) lived past the age of 100 because they ate yogurt (via Grub Street). In recent years, yogurt makers have been more and more willing to stray from the food's early reputation as a healthy hippie food that should be paired with granola (via HuffPost). Yoplait came out with Starburst yogurt in 2019 and a Gushers version of its product in 2020 (via Best Products). Last month, shoppers started seeing Skittles Yoplait in grocery stores.

To find out just how healthy – or not – Yoplait's new Skittles flavor really is, Mashed spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Klingbeil, a registered dietician nutritionist and an assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University. To boil it down, she said the problem with Skittles Yoplait comes down to a single ingredient. Dr. Klingbeil also compared the new Yoplait flavor to other yogurts, and she suggested some healthier alternatives.

The biggest nutritional problem with Skittles Yoplait is the added sugar

Something jumped out at Dr. Elizabeth Klingbeil, RDN, when she looked at Skittles Yoplait's nutrition label. "The major issue with this yogurt is the sugar content – specifically, the added sugars," she said. The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people consume no more than 10% of their daily calories in the form of added sugars. Individual caloric needs vary, but someone who should be taking in 2,000 calories a day should eat no more than 50 grams of added sugar, Dr. Klingbeil said.

A 6-ounce, single-serving container of Skittles Yoplait has 17 grams of sugar, which is already one-third of the recommended total for a 2,000 calorie diet. Too much added sugar can lead to health problems that certainly won't help if your goal is to live as long as the people featured in that 1970s Dannon commercial. "Excessive intake of added sugars can put you at risk for a bevy of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and many others," Dr. Klingbeil said.

Yogurt lovers can find healthier alternatives to Skittles Yoplait

Yogurt is often thought of as an easy, grab-and-go breakfast option, but Skittles Yoplait wouldn't be Dr. Klingbeil's recommendation for your first meal of the day. "Yoplait Skittles yogurt provides much more nutrition for breakfast than a bag of Skittles would," she said, but that was definitely faint praise. Yoplait Skittles do score some points for nutritional value, with 6 grams of protein, some calcium, and vitamins A and D. That said, a more standard Yoplait flavor would be a better option. Yoplait strawberry or strawberry and banana flavors contain 13 grams of added sugar – better than Skittles Yoplait, but still high. "Flavored yogurts are notorious for being major sources of added sugars," Dr. Klingbeil said.

What does Dr. Klingbeil recommend for people who love yogurt and want to treat themselves to something sweet? "One of my favorite tips to give people is start with a base of plain (unflavored, fat-free) yogurt or plain Greek (unflavored, fat-free) yogurt and add what you are craving," she said. That could be a few chocolate chips, or measured portions of chocolate syrup or peanut butter. Fresh or frozen fruits are good because they add sweetness with natural sugars, not added sugar – so they wouldn't count against that 10% limit recommended in Dietary Guidelines for Americans. "You can have a lot of fun with plain Greek yogurt by simply adding a topping or two," Dr. Klingbeil said.