5 Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

Health + Wellness
5 Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

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Are All Greek Yogurts the Same?

Like regular yogurt, not all Greek yogurts are the same. This is because different processing methods and added ingredients can change the nutritional profile.

They May Contain Additional Ingredients

One of the key features of Greek yogurt is its thick and creamy texture.

This is usually achieved by straining yogurt and slowly draining off the whey. This process can take around four hours.

Some manufacturers shorten the processing time by adding thickeners, such as whey protein powder or starch. This can result in a product that contains additional ingredients, such as whey concentrates and modified corn starch.

Additionally, some Greek yogurts contain added flavorings, which may increase their sugar content.

The Lactose Content

While differences in production methods won't affect the protein and fat contents of the final product, they could affect the lactose content.

Greek yogurt made the traditional way has been strained for a long period of time and is naturally low in lactose.

However, those that have added thickeners often haven't been strained as long.

This means that they contain more of the lactose-containing whey, which could make them more likely to cause a problem in people with lactose intolerance.

If you're worried about the lactose content, choose a lactose-free brand or look for Greek yogurts that only list milk and live cultures as the ingredients.

The Protein Content

Some brands of Greek yogurt contain more protein than others.

This can be due to differences in the straining methods used during the production process or may occur if extra protein is added during the thickening process.

To find out how much protein your Greek yogurt contains, simply check the label.

The Fat Content

The fat content of Greek yogurt can also vary, depending on the amount of fat in the milk used to make it.

For example, Greek yogurt made with full-fat milk will contain more fat than Greek yogurt made with low-fat or non-fat milk.

This is usually easy to spot, as Greek yogurt made with low-fat or non-fat milk will be labeled accordingly.

Vegetarian-Friendly Status

Technically, all Greek yogurt should be vegetarian-friendly. However, some companies add gelatin (an animal collagen) to it to improve its texture.

To be sure your product is vegetarian-friendly, check the nutrition label.

Summary: Greek yogurts can vary in their manufacturing process, ingredients and nutritional value. To be sure of the contents, check the label.

How to Eat Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a versatile food that can be used in a number of ways, including:

  • On its own as a snack
  • As a topping on fruit
  • As a substitute for mayonnaise
  • In smoothies or blended drinks
  • Frozen in ice pops
  • As a replacement for cream
  • For topping pancakes
  • As a substitute for ice cream
  • Mixed with herbs as a marinade for meat or vegetables
  • As a base ingredient for a dip
  • In a salad dressing
  • As an ingredient in baking

Summary: Greek yogurt is exceptionally versatile. You can eat it on its own or use it as an ingredient in snacks, baked goods or meals.

Should You Choose Greek or Regular Yogurt?

Both regular and Greek yogurt can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

However, Greek yogurt contains more protein and less lactose than regular yogurt.

This means that if you are trying to increase the protein content of your diet or are following a low-carb diet, Greek yogurt may be a better choice.

That said, all yogurts can contain added ingredients, including sugar.

To pick the healthiest Greek yogurt, be sure to choose one that has milk and live cultures listed on the food label—and little else.

To learn more about choosing a healthy yogurt, here is a complete guide.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.

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