High in protein, and low in sugar and carbs, Greek yogurt has quickly become one of America's favorite health foods. But with antibiotics and GMOs so common in our milk supply, along with many companies' reputation of filling their products with additives, how can we be sure that our yogurt is healthy? The answer is to be choosy about the brands we buy, but with so many Greek yogurt options at the grocery store, deciding which are best for health can be overwhelming.
For help while you're already at the grocery store, the most basic tip for choosing a healthy Greek yogurt brand is to check the ingredients list. If there are many additives that shouldn’t be there (like artificial sweeteners, flavoring and color) try picking up a different brand. To control sugar intake, the best choice is to buy the plain variety and add your own fruit. However, if you prefer the convenience of having fruit already mixed in, check the ingredient list and make sure the first ingredient is a fruit - not “sugar” or another sweetener.
Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on labels to tell you what is in your container of yogurt. So before you go to the grocery store, look over this cheat sheet from GMO Inside (with some additional information of our own,) for help that will make shopping for Greek yogurt much easier!
|Brand||GMO ingredients?||GM feed for cows?||rBST (synthetic growth hormone)||Milk Protein Concentrate (thickening agent)||Organic options?||Notes|
|Stonyfield Oikos||No||No||No||No||Yes||Stonyfield is my brand of choice, as it is a healthy option and widely available in grocery stores. All of their products are USDA Organic certified (including Stonyfield Greek and YoBaby); therefore, they are audited throughout the production process to ensure that they do not use pesticides or herbicides, GMOs, antibiotics, or growth hormones.|
|Nancy’s||No||No||No||No||Yes||Nancy’s does not add any thickeners or pectins. They use all organic fruits, and do not use pesticides, antibiotics, or synthetic growth hormones.|
|Strauss Creamery||No||No||No||No||Yes||Strauss does not use any additives or stabilizers, and is Non-GMO Project Verified.|
|Wallaby||No||No||No||No||Yes||They use organic milk from local sources, and are organic certified. Due to their organic certification, they are also GMO free.|
|Voskos||No||No||No||No||Yes||Their website states that there are no hormones or antibiotics in their milk, as well as no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or preservatives in their product.|
|Brands To Be Wary Of|
|Chobani||No||Likely||No||No||No||Chobani uses milk from cows that were given GMO feed.|
|Fage||No||Likely||No||No||No||While no milk concentrate or extra thickeners are used in their plain varieties, they are most likely added to their flavored yogurt.|
|Greek Gods||No||Likely||No||No||No||They do not add milk protein concentrate or artificial coloring.|
|Yoplait Greek||Likely||Likely||No||Yes||No||Their website admits to using aspartame (artificial sweetener), carmine (red coloring), gelatin, and milk protein concentrate in their Greek yogurt. In 2012, General Mills (which owns Yoplait) spent over $1 million to oppose GMO labeling in California.|
|Dannon Oikos||Likely||Likely||No||Yes||No||They use cultured grade A non-fat milk, though fruit varieties include additives such as fructose, modified corn starch, and other products.|
|Muller Greek Corner||Likely||Likely||No||Yes||No||Their website states they use no artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup, but their ingredients list contains a lot of additives, including sweeteners, fillers and artificial coloring.|
Check the resources below for more health information on Greek yogurt:
Dr Oz: Greek Yogurt Cheat Sheet
Huffington Post: How To Buy The Healthiest Yogurt