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Health Food Trends

by Meghann on December 20, 2011

Rise and shine! It’s tempo time!

I had a 5 mile tempo run on my schedule this morning with 3 miles at a 8:05 pace. I started around my neighborhood with a 1 mile warm up, sped up for the middle 3, then cooled down with the last mile.


  • Mile 1: 8:59
  • Mile 2: 8:02
  • Mile 3: 8:05
  • Mile 4: 8:04
  • Mile 5: 8:58

I was pretty surprised to see my tempo miles were right on target because it felt a lot harder than I thought it would be. The whole time I was trying to picture myself running at that pace (actually, faster than that pace) to reach my 1:45 goal in February and the thought seemed pretty laughable at the time. Holding 8:00min/mi for 3 miles was tough, how the heck am I going to do it for 13.1?

I set the 1:45 half marathon goal because I wanted to aim big. Well, it’s big alright – I just hope it’s not unattainable big. Even if I don’t reach that goal in February, it doesn’t mean I have to give up on that goal. It just means I’ll have to tweak my training plan and try again and again until I smash it.

And, I promise, one day I WILL smash it. 😉 It just may not be the day I originally planned.

Post-run I brought down the cereal and cracked open a fresh container of plain greek yogurt.


In the bowl:

  • 1/2 cup Cinnamon Life Cereal
  • 1/2 cup Erewhon Cocoa Brown Rice Crispies
  • plain greek yogurt
  • homemade apple butter
  • blackberries


There was a great article on Fitbie the other day on ‘The Biggest Health Food Scams of 2011’ and one of the ones they mentioned was flavored greek yogurt.

4. Flavored Greek Yogurt

With all the hype around its digestive health benefits, low sugar, and high protein content (not to mention its indulgent thick texture), Greek yogurt became a major health food player in 2011. Sales went through the roof—with the top 10 brands raking in over $1.9 billion for the year. Yoplait joined the party, too, but its version is dubious at best—made with “milk protein concentrate” and additives like gelatin instead of 100% strained yogurt like those made by Chobani, Fage, and Oikos. While plain, low-fat Greek yogurt is a nutritional powerhouse, some of the flavored options pack more sugar per ounce than soda (about 39 g per 12-ounce can) and ice cream (about 24 g for 4 ounces). Ouch. The worst offenders (for a 5.3 ounce portion): Fage Total 2% With Honey at 29 g, Cabot 2% Strawberry at 24 g, Dannon 0% Honey and Chobani Blueberry Nonfat, each with 20 g. “One cup of milk has about 12 g of sugar, so a carton of Greek yogurt shouldn’t have much more than that,” says Taub-Dix.

Interesting, right?

I tend to buy the big tubs of plain greek yogurt for cereal bowls and other random uses (who needs sour cream when you have plain greek yogurt?), but I do purchase the smaller flavored yogurts on occasion. Personally, my favorites are the lemon and peach flavored Chobanis. Yum.

Milk is naturally high in sugar, so it would only make sense that any type of fruit or sweetener added to the high base would send the sugar count sky high. It’s incredibly easy to turn something so good for you into the sweetened equivalent of candy (although, I’d say the protein and other good-for-you characteristics of yogurt would still kick the candy’s booty any day of the week).

The article also covered ‘natural’ sweeteners, vegetable and fruit juices, EVOO, gluten-free foods, and more. It’s an interesting read. See for yourself.

If you were to look back at the health food trends of 2011, what stands out in your mind?

1 Army Amy* December 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

I thought the apple butter in your breakfast bowl was salsa at first! You eat some interesting things, so I really thought that maybe that’s what it was until I read the ingredients.*
Army Amy* recently posted..Charge it!

2 Meg @ My Chocolate Covered Life December 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

Yeah, consumers have to be careful about sugar and salt added into products we wouldn’t normally assume are susceptible – like dairy products as you mentioned or cereal, soup, or bread. Companies have figured out that sugar, fat, and salt are the keys to tasty products, and we have to be on guard. I, too, stick with plain Chobanis for that reason.
Meg @ My Chocolate Covered Life recently posted..Don’t Hate Me

3 Meghann December 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

Pasta sauce is a big one too. I’ve been reading my jarred pasta sauces labels a little more carefully lately because I was so un aware how much sugar was in each serving. Now I just get the plain stuff with less sugar and spice it up myself at home.

4 Lindsay December 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Pasta sauce is also the easiest thing to make. Much easier than you may think. Really just garlic, onions, tomatoes, and spices. Once you start making it on your own, you’ll never be able to eat canned sauce again. Although I never had canned sauce growing up, so maybe I’m biased. 🙂

5 Meghann December 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I buy the jarred stuff and it’s sooooo good. However, I have been getting plain jarred stuff and adding my own spices. Maybe I’ll try making my own next tomato season. I’ve always wanted to try, but have never even attempted it.

6 Lindsay December 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Hm, I can’t stand the additives they put in canned sauce, so I can’t say I’ve ever had a canned sauce that’s good. I can’t even stand plain canned tomatoes with additives. But making the sauce could not be easier, and once I have some, I freeze it and can use it on pizzas and various other things that pop up. The key to the sauce is good tomatoes. Once you have those, you don’t need extra sugar or salt to add flavor.

7 Lara December 20, 2011 at 10:47 am

Meghann, it actually is pretty normal for your half marathon race pace to feel hard in training. If I were to go do a tempo run (I usually do 5-6 miles at tempo pace) at 7:09, it feels really hard but I can hold it in a half marathon without too much trouble. That said, it might still be a little reach for you since your half marathon PR is about 8 minutes slower. You might be better off starting at a 1:50 pace for the first half and trying to speed up in the second half so you could still finish somewhere around 1:48. Just my two cents 🙂

8 Meghann December 20, 2011 at 10:50 am

Thanks Lara, the same thoughts are going through my head. I say my goal is 1:45, but I really will be happy with anything under 1:50. We’ll call 1:45 my rainbows and unicorns goal and 1:50 my reality goal. 🙂

9 Cat @Breakfast to Bed December 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

fro-yo. I love it, but it’s NOT a health food for the love of pete. If you top it with a bucket of candy, it’s absolutely no better than ice cream!
Cat @Breakfast to Bed recently posted..Melting Men’s Shiny Pants.

10 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife December 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

Pretty sure MOST of the food that is consumed is horribly high in sugar……so having a nice nutritional punch with it (aka Greek yogurt) would be better. With that said though, it is important not to give every ‘health food’ looking thing a halo.

Nice job on the run!

11 Meghann December 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

I agree! It’s all about balance and moderation, even if the food is considered the healthiest food of them all.

12 Cat December 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I agree here. I wouldn’t say that this so much a “scam”. I mean, I think most people realize that plain yogurt is healthier — they aren’t being scammed so much as they are making the choice for the sweeter product. The onus does not lie on the yogurt manufacturer, in my opinion. I think it started way before that! Also, citing the honey flavored Fage as the worst offender is a bit of a poor choice in my opinion, ummmm, it’s honey! I don’t think they are making a pretense here! It’s an added sweetener! And in this case, it’s on the front of the product!

13 Andrea December 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Seriously. The Fage yogurt with honey has like 2 tablespoons of honey in the container, and you add it yourself to the plain yogurt. I don’t know why anyone would be shocked that it has so much sugar. You don’t have to add all of the honey if you don’t want to.

Also, greek yogurt is made by straining regular yogurt, all you are doing is removing some liquid and keeping the solids. Some of the lactose comes out in the liquid, but not all of it. Since it takes 1 cup of milk to make 1 cup of yogurt, and it takes about 2 cups of regular yogurt to make a cup of greek yogurt, greek yogurt is going to have more sugar than regular yogurt. I think that part of the article is misleading as well.

I agree though that Yoplait brand greek yogurt is crap! It doesn’t even taste good.

14 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City December 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

I saw the same article and while I acknowledge that greek yogurt can be high in sugar it also has a pretty good protein content and is better for you than a lot of other breakfast options/snacks (think muffins, candy bars, etc). I didn’t like seeing it labeled a health food scam because I think of it as a small step in the right direction, an easy way to bridge from less healthy foods to plain greek yogurt.

Anway way just my two cents :P, good job on your run today!
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..Vacation Eve

15 Carly D. @ CarlyBananas December 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I really agree, Lindsay. Sugar content isn’t the only marker of whether something is “healthy”. I’d rather eat flavored Greek yogurt with a high protein content and actual sugar than yogurt that’s full of artificial sweeteners (that’s only like 30 calories less than Greek anyway). I don’t think “scam” is the right word. People just need to be aware of how much sugar they’re eating 🙂
Carly D. @ CarlyBananas recently posted..Working Out at Work – What Not to Forget

16 joelle (on a pink typewriter) December 20, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hmm, I’d say fro-yo… although it’s definitely delicious so no complaints here! That’s def true about Greek yogurt though- I personally stick with plain Greek yogurt by brands that are known for Greek yogurt ONLY, like Fage and Chobani. 🙂
joelle (on a pink typewriter) recently posted..Work it out

17 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries December 20, 2011 at 11:27 am

this article is interesting to me because i have noticed the high content of sugar in flavored Greek yogurts… they are yummy, but i think i’ll plan on only buying the flavored versions on occasion.
Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..Trainer Tuesday: Christmas Treadmill Mash Up

18 Liz December 20, 2011 at 11:43 am

I just saw this article in the NYtimes and thought it was very interesting. Wondering if you have any thoughts on this?
Liz recently posted..Scary Stuff

19 Meghann December 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Great article. Thanks for sharing. I agree with a lot of what it has to say. I’ve rarely run a race that comes up exactly on point with my garmin and have just learned to accept that. Usually my garmin is over though and rarely under. GPS watches are not 100% accurate, but they’re close enough in my opinion to gauge where your abilities are.

20 Lauren December 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Ugh, this article kinda upsets me. I know some flavored greek yogurts can be high in sugar but I still think it’s soooooo much better than the artificial sugars that are loaded in the “lite” versions. I wish they would credit the fact that Greek Yogurt has turned so many people away from that disastrous fad.
Lauren recently posted..The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

21 Anna-Marie @ Beauty and the Beets December 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I LOVE how you just throw different ingredients together to create meals- when I do that at home my Significant Other Chad calls it a “Meghann” meal…. 😀
Anna-Marie @ Beauty and the Beets recently posted..Doesn’t Harry Potter eat veggies?

22 Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe December 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I use greek yogurt as sour cream too! I made a taco bake last night, topped with lettuce and plain greek yogurt.

I’d say a trend in the last year (both in stores and in my kitchen) is quinoa. I love that stuff!
Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe recently posted..Festivus for the rest of us!

23 Michelle December 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Hey now – don’t talk yourself out of your running goals because of one run — in December. You still have plenty of time to build up that speed — plus you know how different you feel when you’re racing vs. just going out for a training. Stay positive and just stick with the training. (This concludes your pep talk of the week!)
Michelle recently posted..WaSupinator

24 Hillary December 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I really try to stay away from flavored Greek yogurts and sweeten it with fresh fruit and a bit of honey instead. Just as good and better for me!

25 Allison December 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm

When I started reading blogs last year, I was always reading about “nutritional yeast” and wondered WTF is that?! All I knew was that people use yeast to make bread rise, not that it’s some “cheese like” stuff 😛
Allison recently posted..Monday’s Mumbles

26 Irina G (Fit Flexitarian) December 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Your breakfast bowl looks DELICIOUS!!!

And I kind of agree with the Fitbie article about flavored Greek yogurt being kind of a scam. I personally only buy the plain kind and then add in my own sweetener (honey or agave nectar) or berries. Actually, my absolutely to-die-for go-to snack or easy breakfast is just a plain Greek yogurt with some fresh, seasonal raspberries. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…
Irina G (Fit Flexitarian) recently posted..Chickpea Curry, New Pasta Dish & Back to Running

27 Cait @ Beyond Bananas December 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Those are totally on target! I never seem to get my tempo runs on target when i do them!! But I’ve been meeting my race goals, so I assume I shouldn’t fix something if it ain’t broken 😉
Cait @ Beyond Bananas recently posted..Flower Power

28 Dina @ DinaRuns December 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Tempo runs are my least favorite training runs. I find it difficult mentally and find myself counting down the miles. I grit my teeth and push through it.

Not sure if it would be considered a trend but I do find it alarming how much soy people are consuming on a regular basis. As someone with a thyroid condition, I have to avoid it. Like sugar, when you are looking for it in items, it can be alarming how ubiquitous it is.
Dina @ DinaRuns recently posted..Half Marathon Training Weeks Two And Three

29 Lindsay, Chobani December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm


Thanks for sharing this interesting article, and thanks for the lemon & peach shootout! It’s true, milk does naturally contain sugar, and our flavored cups all fall under 20g of sugar per cup. Happy to explain a bit more where that sugar comes from!

As you know, there is a difference between natural sugars and refined sugars. Chobani is a natural product, and due to our unique straining process, contains more milk sugar than regular yogurt. This is where the 7g in our Plain comes from. The remaining sugar in our fruit-flavored cups is derived from our real fruit and less than a teaspoon of evaporated cane juice (an unrefined sugar).

So when you’re label-checking at the store, you can rest assured that a Chobani label is about as simple as it gets- just milk, fruit, and a touch of sweetness.

Thanks for letting us share in the conversation!

Lindsay, Chobani
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