Greek yogurt has taken the world by storm. Dairy shelves have been infiltrated by different types, concoctions and flavors of this newly loved item. So what’s so great about it and why is it different than regular yogurt?
Both regular and Greek yogurt can be excellent additions to a healthy diet as they are a good source of calcium and beneficial “gut” bacteria. The big difference is that Greek yogurt has been further strained to remove excess liquid and sugar content. This gives Greek yogurt its creamier texture and sour flavor. Many brands of this type of yogurt will also be further strained to remove additional fat as well.
The huge benefit of Greek yogurt is that it contains almost double the protein of regular yogurt. A 6oz container of Greek yogurt usually has anywhere from 12-14g of protein compared to 5g in the regular kind. This added protein can help better balance a snack or meal and can improve satiety. Greek yogurt also tends to have a lower sugar content (in the plain version) due to the extra straining process. This can assist individuals who are cognizant of their carbohydrate intake and/or carbohydrate/protein balance.
When shopping for Greek yogurt there are a few things to be aware of:
1. Look for non-fat or low-fat options. The full fat options can be almost 18g!
2. Be careful of added sugars or added fruit as that can increase the carbohydrate content.
Great ways to use Greek yogurt:
1. Use the plain flavor as a sour cream alternative (great on baked potatoes!).
2. Substitute for oil or mayonnaise in a recipe: https://www.stonyfield.com/sites/default/files/attachments/yogurt-substitution-guide_1.pdf
3. Add it to a smoothie to increase protein.
This new line of yogurt can absolutely fit into a healthy lifestyle and help to add variety and nutrients to any diet.
Katherine Horner, RD, LD, NASM-CPT, CES
St. Francis Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian and Exercise Specialist