Is Greek Yogurt Really More Nutritious Than Regular Yogurt
If you have ever wondered whether yogurt from Greece is truly healthier than other brands, then you’ve come to the right place. The differences go far beyond the fact that the Greek variety is merely thicker than plain yogurt – although many of its properties are a direct result (or progenitor) of this thickness.
Why Is Greek Yogurt Really More Nutritious Than Regular Yogurt?
More tang and taste
Another advantage that the Greek variety of yogurt possesses over regular yogurt is the fact that the tang and taste go well as substitutes for many dressings and toppings. The latter are usually full of fat and calories while adding little to no nutritional value; replacing cream cheese with Fage or plain Oikos would go a long way in reducing that waistline.
Even without changing your diet much – or at all, if it is already within acceptable levels, adding a serving of Greek yogurt to it promotes weight reduction to the tune of a few pounds every handful of years – without exercise! And since exercise should be a way of life for anyone, the benefits could be even more significant.
Other toppings that can be easily replaced by Greek yogurt are sour cream, mayonnaise, margarine (you really shouldn’t eat much margarine anyway!) and anything else you would normally put in salads and dressings to liven the taste. The texture works brilliantly, and the taste isn’t strongly affected – but the health factor certainly is and for the better.
It can be difficult to fortify your meals with protein – especially if you are a woman or a vegetarian. If you aren’t terribly active, then your protein requirements aren’t especially high; but unless you’re eating six ounces of meat every day or drinking 5 glasses of milk, you aren’t hitting your protein target for the day. A cup of Fage Greek gives you fully half of that requirement, which is another reason why fitness nuts and dietitians love the stuff. Additionally, the sodium content of Greek yogurt is a lot less than normal yogurt – by half, in fact.
Some numbers on Greek yogurt are truly impressive and point to the fact that many people either realize the benefits or have been swayed by the commercial engine. The dollar amount approached two billion dollars in yogurt sales recently, which represents a 50 percent increase over previous years. The straining process that gets rid of much of the lactose has opened the doors to many people who couldn’t eat yogurt before, allowing them to digest the Greek delicacy.
These days, you’ll find the Greek yogurt label in everything from turkey basting recipes to hummus food and as a replacement for sauces. Unfortunately, you’ll also find companies capitalizing on the public’s sudden penchant by offering “Greek-style” yogurt, which has none of the benefits of real Greek but merely has additives to thicken it and make it look like the real thing.
The key is the protein content – it should be double the amount because of the extra milk needed in the manufacturing process. This makes Greek yogurt necessarily more expensive, so the higher price point can’t really be avoided. All-in-all, Greek yogurt in the legitimate form is readily available at your local supermarket, and it’s worth taking a look at for health purposes.
Greek yogurt is one of the most versatile toppings-replacer out there, as well as being possibly the healthiest. It’s actually better to have it on food than to have no toppings at all, because of the fat-fighting enzymes and protein. Greek yogurt nutrition is the way to go. Ogun is a strong proponent of the kind of healthy living that Fage Greek yogurt encourages.
Milk is fermented using cultures
You might be wondering how yogurt is made in the first place. Milk is fermented using cultures – which are just probiotic bacteria (basically, they’re good for you; much like the billions that live in your stomach already). This is how all yogurt starts out.
When it comes to Greek yogurt, an extra step is added to the process: the runny milk whey is removed to create a thicker mix that has more in common with cheese than yogurt. And here we come to why Greek yogurt has more than double the protein and often double the cost of traditional yogurt – about four times as much milk is used to make a single cup. There you have it.
Less sugar and carbs
Another great benefit of Greek yogurt is that there are less sugar and carbs. This is due to the cloth strainer; it removes this stuff and produces a product chock-full of protein but lacking in fattening elements. The live bacterial cultures are preserved, too, which helps digestion and even helps fight off colds when made a part of your regular diet.
Protects you against diseases
In addition, the calcium and naturally-reduced calories of most yogurts as a property of the food, itself, the Greek version also actively protects you against diseases like the common cold. The straining process takes away much of the lactose – which means that lactose-intolerant people (all but the most severe cases, of course) can safely indulge without discomfort.
The sugar that’s removed leads to lower carbs for the day, which is something that most Americans struggle with anyway. In sum, then, Greek yogurts like Fage and Oikos ratchet up the protein, while reducing the sugars and calories significantly.
The nutritional benefits are great, but the truth is that Greek yogurt puts quite a bit of a load on the environment. It takes a lot to make it, as you can see from the extra milk, for example. So perhaps it’s a cost-benefit analysis between health and environment because regular yogurt really just isn’t that good for you because of the added sugar.
For those desiring a bit more than “plainly plain,” as the famous Fage yogurt commercials tout, there are multiple varieties of most brands of Greek yogurt on the market – and best of all, this strawberry, peach, and other fruit concoctions don’t count towards your daily value of sugar because there’s no added sugar in them – they’re all-natural. Greek may very well be the way to go.