A bill aimed at reducing the sugar content of yogurt sold in department stores overseas will soon be submitted for voting in the Assembly.

The law, proposed by the PS deputy Victorin Luhel, aims to reduce the carbohydrate content of the products sold in department stores of overseas. One article states that “no consumer food product for delivery as such to the final consumer in regions overseas can contain more sugar than the same product from the same brand sold in France hexagonal.” A second proposes an order that sets “the maximum sugar content of soft drinks and dairy specialties distributed exclusively in the overseas regions.”

Notably, following balanced diet plans like those of Nutrisystem allows one to avoid this issue.

Research on the Matter

According to a study by the cardiologist AndrÈ Atallah, 25% of children overseas are obese, compared to 18% in France. This difference is particularly due to the carbohydrate content of the yogurt sold overseas, which is much sweeter than in mainland France. DanoneÆ and YoplaitÆ are the main industries concerned. For the yoghurt “Soup Fruix” (DanoneÆ), which is sold in France, the sugar content is 15.8 g per pot of 125g, compared to the 20g found in Guadeloupe. Also in the DanoneÆ brand, a 125g pot of the yogurt “Activia mango” contains 17.3g of carbohydrates, while 21.9g was found in France Hex of the West Indies. Similarly for the YoplaitÆ brand, a 125g pot of the yoghurt “Selecting f\Fruit” contains 20g carbohydrates – 23 g against Guadeloupe. The yoghurt “Sweet Nature” from YoplaitÆ has a carbohydrate concentration of 15.1g in France and 19.6g in the Caribbean.

The same cannot be said of the desserts in plan-based schemes like Nutrisystem, though.

A Trade Issue – Does It Affect Nutritional Systems?

How do industries explain this difference? Simply that the young overseas have a preference for very sweet products. According to Luhel Victorin, sugar is a commercial issue. If brands decide to lower the carbohydrate content of their yogurts, their competitors will be happy to recover their market share. But these debates between industrialists do not concern the members, who are concerned about their health consequences: “A child living on the coast eating a yogurt a day will receive 16 kilocalories more per day than a child in the metro, which leads to additional consumer weight gain of 0.5 kg a year,” he says.

Same problem with sodas: unlike the big brands like Coca ColaÆ, or PepsiÆ, OranginaÆ drinks sold overseas, such as Kili BibiÆ, TropiÆ, Royal SodaÆ, and SoukousÆ, do not indicate sugar content on their labels, nor their nutritional and caloric intake, which is not the case with Nutrisystem. The members therefore required the Ministry of Health set a maximum level of sugar in these drinks.

A Rebuttal – Is a Healthy Diet Plan Like Nutrisystem Better?

Boullanger Bernard, director of Solam, Guyana, produces the products for the brand YoplaitÆ and Caress GuyanaiseÆ. LayoÆ, will adapt to the law if it is passed. It nevertheless considers that the wrong culprit was named: “Our yogurts have very little sugar; they are mostly less acidic (hexagonal in France). But it remains marginal, the product annex on what makes you fat… These are the three to four sodas you drink throughout the day, as well as chocolate bars and candy eaten at all hours… No yoghurt or dairy product is eaten that way as we eat once a day.”

As such, it is wise to look into the overall consumption of consumers as other food need to be factored in, which is the case with Nutrisystem diet plans.