What’s all of this hype with Greek yogurt nowadays? It seems like everyone is boasting about how Greek yogurt is better for you than regular yogurt; yet no one can explain why. We want you to be educated on your yogurt decisions so there won’t be any debate next time you’re shopping down that grocery aisle.
Let’s start with the basics: Greek yogurt and regular yogurt are both great healthy sources of calcium and probiotics. They are both made with the same ingredients: milk and bacterial cultures.
The factor that changes everything is the straining process of the two yogurts. Regular yogurt is strained twice whereas Greek yogurt is strained three times. That one extra straining of Greek yogurt makes a significant difference in its nutritional content.
When straining yogurt, protein is left over in the process. The liquid that is usually left behind in regular yogurt is whey that contains mostly sodium, carbohydrates, and calcium. Since Greek yogurt has less whey left over than regular yogurt after the straining process, it becomes far superior in protein content than regular yogurt. On average, Greek yogurt contains 15-20g of protein per cup whereas regular yogurt contains around 9g of protein per cup. That protein content is a major contributor to overall fullness and how long that yogurt will keep you going until you’re in need of more food.
If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, Greek yogurt is the way to go. With one cup averaging 5-8 grams of carbohydrates, you are saving yourself around 8-12 grams of extra carbs from regular yogurt by going Greek.
Even though Greek yogurt is lower in carbs, one cup of full fat Greek yogurt has around 16 grams of saturated fat content as compared to full-fat regular yogurt that contains around 5 grams per cup. In no way should you fear saturated fats, but simply be aware of this when deciding your fat intake in the rest of your food and the volume of Greek yogurt to consume, especially when adding nuts or high fat granola to your 'yo cup'.
This brings us to how you should be reading those nutritional labels to get the most bang for your buck. Ingredients are listed on nutritional labels and begin with the most used ingredient. The farther down the list of ingredients you go, the less of that ingredient the product contains. When shopping for yogurt, look for plain and simple ingredients. All you want to see on that ingredients list are milk and bacterial cultures. If you’re looking to cut back on saturated fat, try going for the low fat yogurts instead of full fat.
Yogurts with fruit already added to them are a big no no. They can turn that healthy cup of yogurt into a high calorie dessert that will spike your insulin levels and have you crashing hard soon thereafter. If you want to sweeten your yogurt, try adding honey or putting some fresh fruit inside for some extra filling natural fiber.
Conclusively, yogurt is a fantastic addition to anyone's diet. Just remember to check nutritional labels to see what fits your dietary needs.