MIAMI (CBS) – The virtues of Greek yogurt quickly became well known in South Florida and grocery stores have had a hard time keeping it in stock.
Greek yogurt is being added to a whole range of products, like cereals and dips. The problem is these products could be doing more harm than good to your diet.
Sophia Skopetos of “Sophia’s Greek Pastry” makes her yogurt the way she learned in the old country.
“I grew up on a farm so we raised our own animals, and it was something we would make every day. It’s like Italians have pasta, we have cheese and yogurt,” said Skopetos.
Sophia has always known Greek yogurt is a miracle food and now so do more of her customers. She sells about 200 pounds a day.
“I can’t make enough,” said Skopetos.
Greek yogurt is rich in protein and low in calories and has become a staple for many health conscious Americans. It now accounts for a third of all yogurts sold which is up from just 1% six years ago.
Many processed foods are now touting Greek yogurt as an ingredient, trying to capitalize on the craze.
The health benefits vary according to how much Greek yogurt is really in the product, according to nutrition professor Joan Salge Blake.
“Some have just a little bit of Greek Yogurt, and added with it, a lot of sugar, so you may not be getting the benefit of Greek Yogurt right out of the container,” said Blake.
A serving of “Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch” has about double the fat, sugar, and calories of the original cereal. It does contain a little more protein, however.
Blake believes that shoppers shouldn’t be looking at the front of packages which tout Greek yogurt in the product, but the side panel instead.
“Look to see how far up is the Greek yogurt. If it is way down on the ingredients label, that’s a sign for you that there really isn’t much Greek yogurt in the product,” said Blake.
Another concern is that processing could negatively impact the active cultures and good bacteria that help make yogurt healthy in the first place.
Blake said heat treating yogurt could kill some of those good bacteria, as could freezing it.
Spoketos has noticed more and more products that advertise Greek yogurt as an ingredient. She is concerned shoppers are getting tricked by marketing and she doesn’t like it.
“They are using it for financial benefits, not for health benefits,” said Spoketos.
Sometimes simple is much better.