Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Are Yogurt-covered Raisins Bad For You?



Short answer

Yogurt-covered raisins contain high sugar content from both the natural sugars in raisins and added sugars in coatings, nearly fulfilling the daily added sugar limit with one serving. They can be detrimental to dental health and contribute to health issues like weight gain and heart disease. Portion control and occasional consumption are recommended for a balanced diet.



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Long answer

Sugar Content in Yogurt-Covered Raisins

When examining the sugar content in yogurt-covered raisins, it's essential to distinguish between natural sugars found in raisins and the added sugars that come with the yogurt coating. Raisins, being dried fruit, concentrate both the nutrients and the sugars, making them naturally higher in sugar content. However, the additional layer of yogurt coating significantly increases the overall sugar content, making them more of a sweet treat rather than a healthful snack.

The typical yogurt coating is made from a mixture that includes sugar, oil, milk powder, yogurt powder, and other additives to enhance flavor and texture. This concoction can considerably elevate the amount of sugar per serving. For example, a standard 1/4 cup serving of yogurt-covered raisins can contain up to 20 grams of sugar, which is roughly equivalent to five teaspoons.

To put this into perspective, consider the dietary guidelines from health organizations such as the American Heart Association. They recommend that women limit their added sugar intake to no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day and men to no more than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) per day. Eating just one serving of yogurt-covered raisins could nearly fulfill, if not exceed, that daily limit of added sugar.

The overconsumption of added sugars has been linked to a plethora of health issues including weight gain, dental cavities, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It is vital for individuals to be aware of hidden sugars in snacks that can contribute to an increasing caloric intake and potential health risks. Here's a quick breakdown of the typical sugar content found in yogurt-covered raisins:

Serving Size Total Sugar Content Added Sugar Content
1/4 cup (about 40g) 20-25g 15-20g
1/2 cup (about 80g) 40-50g 30-40g

Consumers looking for healthier snack alternatives should consider the following options:

  • Plain raisins without added coatings, for a natural source of sweetness and less added sugar.
  • Mixing plain raisins with nuts and seeds to create a homemade trail mix.
  • Choosing yogurt-covered raisins that use alternative sweeteners, although this still may not make them a healthful choice due to the presence of other additives.

Those with a sweet tooth could opt for dark chocolate-covered raisins as a possible alternative, picking brands that use less sugar and higher cocoa content to reap the benefits of antioxidants present in cocoa. Nonetheless, moderation is still key due to the caloric density and sugar content associated with chocolate.

Overall, it's prudent for consumers to read nutrition labels carefully and consider portion sizes when enjoying yogurt-covered raisins or similar snacks to manage their sugar intake effectively within a balanced diet.

The Truth Behind "Yogurt" Coating Ingredients

The term "yogurt-covered" can conjure images of healthy, probiotic-rich treats, but the truth behind yogurt coating ingredients may surprise you. Unlike the plain yogurt you may spoon from a cup, the coating on yogurt-covered raisins is typically a confectionery product created to mimic the taste and texture of yogurt.

Here's a breakdown of commonly found ingredients in yogurt coatings:

  • Sugar: Often the first ingredient listed, indicating it's the primary component by weight. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for men. One serving of yogurt-covered raisins can contribute a significant portion of this limit.
  • Palm Kernel Oil: Used for its creamy texture and melting properties. While palm oil can be part of a balanced diet, its high level of saturated fats could raise LDL cholesterol levels if consumed excessively.
  • Yogurt Powder: This ingredient is made by dehydrating real yogurt. However, in the coating process, beneficial probiotics typically do not survive. This means the digestive benefits associated with live cultures in yogurt are absent in these products.
  • Reduced Mineral Whey Powder: Offers some protein but is mostly used as a sweetener and binder.
  • Lecithin: Added as an emulsifier, lecithin assists in maintaining an even mixture of the coating ingredients. Derived from soybeans, it is generally considered safe but is a concern for those with soy allergies.
  • Artificial Flavors: Used to mimic the taste of real yogurt or other flavors. These additives do not offer any nutritional benefits and might be a concern for those looking for natural ingredients.
  • Titanium Dioxide: A coloring agent used to give the coating a bright, white appearance. There's ongoing debate about the safety of this additive in food products.

Considering the components of yogurt coating, one can note that there is a significant difference in nutritional value when comparing yogurt-covered raisins to plain yogurt or even plain raisins. For example, a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry highlighted that real yogurt contains natural sugars, proteins, and fats, along with beneficial bacteria, elements that are substantially altered or missing in yogurt coatings.

Expert dietitians often recommend reading ingredient labels carefully. It's important to moderate intake of products with high levels of sugars, saturated fats, and additives to maintain a balanced diet.

To truly understand the nutritional implications of these ingredients, consider these key points:

  • Look beyond the marketing appeal of "yogurt-covered" and scrutinize the nutritional panel and ingredient list.
  • Balance your overall diet by accounting for treats that contain higher amounts of sugar and saturated fat.
  • For a more nutritious alternative, consider combining plain raisins with actual plain yogurt, which provides the live probiotics and nutritional benefits without the additives.

While the delectable taste and convenience of yogurt-covered raisins can be alluring, an informed choice is always empowered by understanding what truly lies beneath the coating.

Nutritional Comparison to Plain Raisins

When considering snack choices, understanding the nutritional differences between the unadulterated food and its modified counterparts is crucial. This is particularly relevant when examining the contrast between plain raisins and their yogurt-covered versions. Here we delve into a detailed analysis that sheds light on the nutritional enhancements or downgrades that occur once raisins are enveloped in a creamy yogurt coating.

Caloric Content:
Plain raisins are dried grapes, which concentrate their natural sugars and make them a high-energy snack. An average serving of plain raisins (about 1/4 cup or 40 grams) typically contains around 130 calories, primarily from carbohydrates. The introduction of a yogurt covering significantly increases this number due to the addition of sugars and fats in the yogurt layer. For the same quantity, yogurt-covered raisins can contain up to 200 calories.

Sugar and Fat Comparison:
One of the most striking differences between plain and yogurt-covered raisins is their sugar and fat content. While plain raisins contain natural sugars from the fruit, a serving can have about 29 grams of sugar. Yogurt-covered raisins, however, can exceed this amount, with some brands packing more than 30 grams of sugar per serving, much of it added. Furthermore, the fat content sees a significant rise—plain raisins contain virtually no fat, but their yogurt-covered counterparts can have between 7 to 10 grams of fat per serving, with saturated fats included in the mix.

Fiber and Nutrients:
The fiber found in plain raisins is an essential element for digestive health. Offering about 2 grams per serving, this micronutrient remains relatively unchanged in yogurt-covered raisins. However, yogurt coatings can alter the bioavailability of certain nutrients. While plain raisins offer vitamins and minerals such as potassium and some B vitamins, the nutritional benefit of these could be diluted in yogurt-covered raisins due to the additional ingredients and processing involved.

Ingredients and Additives:
Understanding the additives in yogurt coatings is an essential aspect of the nutritional analysis. Plain raisins are free from additives, but yogurt-covered raisins often contain a series of additional components such as palm kernel oil, whey powder, yogurt powder (which may include milk or milk derivatives), and sometimes emulsifiers or thickeners to maintain the coating's texture and consistency. It is not only the macronutrients that change, but also the type and amount of ingredients that can have health implications.

In summary, while yogurt-covered raisins may offer a different and possibly more indulgent taste experience compared to plain raisins, the nutritional profile of the snack is significantly altered. The additional calories, sugars, and fats turn the yogurt-covered raisins from a simple dried fruit snack into a more confectionary item, which may not fit as well into a balanced and health-conscious diet. On the other hand, for those managing energy intake and seeking natural and straightforward foods, plain raisins provide a more nutrient-dense option with fewer additives.

Consideration of these factors is important for informed dietary choices, particularly for those with specific dietary goals or restrictions. Consumers are encouraged to review labels carefully and consider the portion sizes when consuming yogurt-covered raisins to avoid excessive calorie and sugar intake.

Potential Effects on Blood Sugar and Dental Health

When considering the impact of yogurt-covered raisins on blood sugar and dental health, it's crucial to understand the components that contribute to the potential effects. These sweet treats combine two elements: dried fruit, in this case, raisins, and a coating often marketed as yogurt but typically composed of a mixture involving sugar, oil, and dairy powder. Let’s break down how each of these components can affect blood sugar levels and dental health.

Blood Sugar Impact:

  • Raisins: As a dried fruit, raisins are a concentrated source of sugars and calories. Despite their small size, they have a relatively high glycemic index (GI), which means they can cause a quicker rise in blood sugar levels compared to fresh fruit. However, they also contain fiber, which can help moderate blood sugar spikes to some extent.
  • Yogurt Coating: The so-called "yogurt" coating is typically high in added sugars and fats, which can exacerbate spikes in blood sugar. Foods with high sugar content can cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels, especially problematic for individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes.

Evidence suggests that the consumption of high-GI foods, like the sugary coating of yogurt-covered raisins, could contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher GI diets are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Dental Health Concerns:

  • Stickiness Factor: Raisins are naturally sticky, which means they can easily cling to teeth. This creates an environment where bacteria can thrive, producing acids that lead to tooth decay.
  • Sugar Content: The additional sugar from the yogurt coating not only contributes to the likelihood of cavities but also can lead to an increase in harmful oral bacteria.

According to the World Dental Federation, frequent consumption of sugars is a major factor in the development of dental caries. The combination of sugar and stickiness from yogurt-covered raisins could make them particularly harmful to dental health if consumed in excess and without proper oral hygiene.

Overall, while yogurt-covered raisins can be enjoyed as an occasional treat, their high sugar content might pose a risk to your blood sugar stability and dental health, particularly if they become a regular part of your diet. For those with existing blood sugar control issues or dental health concerns, it may be wise to limit consumption or seek out alternatives with reduced sugar content.

It is advisable for individuals to brush their teeth after consuming sugary and sticky foods, and to maintain a balanced diet that limits high-GI and sugary foods to reduce potential health risks.

Moderation and Healthy Snacking Alternatives

Moderation is key when consuming yogurt-covered raisins, as with many snacks that straddle the line between healthy and indulgent. These sweet treats offer a combination of the nutritional benefits of raisins and the creamy taste of yogurt, but they can also come with added sugars and fats. It's essential to understand the balance and identify when and how they can fit into a healthy diet.

Let's break down the approach to consuming yogurt-covered raisins with moderation in mind:

  • Portion Control: Keep portion sizes small. A standard serving size might be one ounce (about 28 grams), but it's crucial to check the packaging to see what the manufacturer considers a single serving. Limiting yourself to just one serving can help manage calorie and sugar intake.
  • Frequency of Consumption: Treat these snacks as just that—a treat. Including them occasionally, rather than daily, can help maintain a balanced diet.
  • Understanding Labels: Pay close attention to the nutritional label and ingredient list. Look out for terms like "partially hydrogenated" oils or high amounts of added sugars such as corn syrup or dextrose, which may contribute to negative health effects when consumed excessively.
  • Nutritional Value: Keep in mind the intrinsic benefits of raisins, which are rich in fiber and certain antioxidants. However, don't let this mask the less beneficial aspects of the yogurt coating, which is often not yogurt but rather a mix of sugar, palm kernel oil, and yogurt powder.

For those who enjoy yogurt-covered raisins but are looking for healthier snacking alternatives, consider the following options:

  1. Natural Raisins: Opt for plain raisins or those that have been sun-dried without additional sugars or oils.
  2. DIY Yogurt Raisins: Make your own version at home using plain Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, if desired, for natural sweetness. Freeze them for a treat with a similar texture but with more control over the ingredients.
  3. Nut and Seed Mixes: For a snack that’s rich in healthy fats and protein, combine raisins with a variety of unsalted nuts and seeds.
  4. Fruit with Nut Butter: Get a combination of sweetness and creamy texture by pairing fresh fruit slices with a dab of almond or peanut butter.
  5. Dark Chocolate-Covered Raisins: Though still a treat, dark chocolate often contains less sugar than yogurt coatings and can provide beneficial antioxidants.

Ultimately, yogurt-covered raisins can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation and with a conscious approach to their nutritional makeup. For those who seek to minimize added sugars and fats while still enjoying a sweet and satisfying snack, exploring healthy alternatives or making a homemade version may serve as a beneficial compromise.

Frequently asked questions

Traditional yogurt-covered raisins are not vegan as they contain dairy products. However, some brands may offer vegan-friendly versions using plant-based yogurts and coatings that do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. Always read labels carefully to ensure the snack meets vegan requirements.

Yogurt-covered raisins may not be the best choice for diabetics due to their high sugar content, which includes both natural fruit sugars and added sugars from the coating. These snacks have a high glycemic index and can potentially cause spikes in blood glucose levels, so diabetics should consult their healthcare provider and consider alternative snacks with a lower glycemic index.

Despite the 'yogurt' name, yogurt-covered raisins are not a good source of probiotics. The yogurt powder used in the coating typically doesn't contain live, active cultures or may lose these during processing, unlike fresh yogurt which does support digestive health with beneficial bacteria.

Yogurt-covered raisins generally contain dairy products such as milk powder and yogurt powder, which may cause discomfort to individuals with lactose intolerance. They should check the ingredient list and consider their personal level of tolerance to lactose before consuming these snacks.

Ask a question about Yogurt Covered Raisins and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased blood sugar levels
  • dental caries
  • potential for weight gain

Possible long-term side effects

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • elevated ldl cholesterol levels

Ingredients to be aware of


  • source of fiber (in raisins)
  • antioxidants (in dark chocolate alternatives)

Healthier alternatives

  • plain raisins
  • homemade trail mix
  • dark chocolate-covered raisins with high cocoa content
  • diy yogurt-coated raisins with plain greek yogurt
  • nuts and seed mixes
  • fruit with nut butter

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Sun-Maid Raisins

  • Natural sweetener
  • Sun-dried fruit snack
  • Resealable canister
  • Ideal for lunches
  • California-grown
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-18-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-18-2024

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