Dannon recently rolled out both Greek and French versions of their Activia® line.
I was sent a few samples to try out and despite my Monday through Friday no sugar diet, I put them to the test.
Dannon Activia® is marketed as a healthy yogurt that will regulate your digestive tract if eaten everyday for two weeks.
I won’t be evaluating that aspect as I’m already regular, but I will be taking a close look at the ingredients of these two new yogurts.
Dannon Activia® Greek
I was sent the strawberry variety and the taste has a very sweet, strawberry flavor with a thick and creamy texture. I did notice a slight, almost gritty texture at the finish of each bite. On the ingredients list is milk protein concentrate, so it’s probably this that is causing the grit.
This isn’t Greek yogurt in the traditional sense as it’s thickened with food starches and carrageenan as well as being supplemented with extra whey protein. The sugar content of Activia® Greek Yogurt is very high with 29 grams of sugar/6oz container. This is the same as eating about 7 teaspoons of sugar.
Greek Activia® is fat-free, but contains a few ingredients such as sodium citrate, potassium sorbate, and malic acid for preserving and tartness. While these chemicals are generally safe, are they necessary in yogurt? The usual natural yogurt that I eat has none of these.
Dannon Activia® French
I was sent the blackberry/rasberry flavor of this variety and it had a sweet, but nice berry flavor with the texture being very smooth. This one wasn’t as sweet as the Greek, but still clocked in at 23 grams of sugar/6oz container, which is like eating just under 6 teaspoons of sugar.
The French has 6 grams of fat and is thickened with food starches and pectin. It contains artificial flavors and the preservatives; sodium citrate and calcium citrate. Which again, don’t really need to be in yogurt.
Dannon Activia®’s number one health claim is the regulation of the digestive tract by consuming their product. Three active cultures are included in Activia®. The first two; L. Bulgaricus and S. Thermophilus are found in most yogurts. The third, Bifidobacterium Lactus is what they have trademarked Bifidus Regularis®. This is just a sub-species of B. Lactus, which is also found in many yogurts and food products. There is no evidence to support that Dannon’s sub-species is any better than B. Lactus in regards to probiotic effect.
As I sit here typing with my heart beating fast from all the sugar I just ate, I really question the need for 7 teaspoons of sugar in a small tub of yogurt. Do people really need yogurt to be that sweet? It would be hard to find anyone that would sit down and eat 7 teaspoons of sugar back to back, so why then would someone do it disguised in 6 ounces of yogurt? This is almost as much sugar as a regular Snickers candy bar (30 grams).
Dannon, you could have two nice products here if you would cut down on the sugar and preservatives. I can’t recommend either product as a healthy choice. People would be better off choosing an all natural, plain yogurt and mixing in their own fresh fruit.
If you don’t believe me and want to try Activia® for yourself, they are giving free coupons via facebook.