Much is said and many more is written about the health benefits of Greek yogurt and whether Greek yogurt is indeed superior to other regular ones. In between conflicting viewpoints, there lies the truth; the bare facts. Facts that you only get from an insider, who can back up everything coming out of their mouth or the tips of their hands with substantial evidence and undeniable facts. Without further ado, here we go!
PROCESS OF MAKING GREEK YOGURT
Just like any yogurt, milk is first heated, then cooled to a fermentation temperature between 41°C and 46°C before the maker adds bacterial cultures. Then, the mixture is left to ferment, so the bacteria can grow and produce gels and lactic acid. And, voila, you have yogurt! However, in Greek yogurt making, yogurt is strained to the point where all lactose and liquid whey are completely removed, which leaves you with a thinker-textured product. And, THAT is only part of the secret that lies behind the Greek yogurt having an undeniable edge.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GREEK YOGURT
Since Greek yogurt contains less water, compared to regular varieties, it does not only have a thicker consistency and tangier flavour, but also fewer calories and more protein per serving, among others. In detail:
Greek yogurt contains 15-20 grams of protein per typical 6-ounce serving. This equals the amount of 2-3 ounces of lean meat. That does not only help promote fullness but also makes yogurt an especially appealing product to vegetarians that long to get enough of nutrient.
The same amount of regular yogurt will provide you with 9 grams of protein, which means it won’t be long before you feel hungry and start looking in your cupboards to see what’s next to eat.
Those into low-carb diets will find going Greek a superb choice as Greek yogurt contains 5-8 grams of carbs, which is approximately half the carbs you will get from a regular kind (13-17 grams). Moreover, as the process of making Greek yogurt involves the removal of some of the milk sugar, it is much less likely you will get any undesired incidences related to lactose intolerance. What is more, those with a sensitivity to carbs or following a low-carb diet, such as people with diabetes, Greek yogurt is your ticket.
At this point, it should be noted that opting for sweetened yogurts, either with a sweetening agent or sugar, means you get more carbs, so it is best you choose yogurt with the least added sugar available.
Also, you should pay attention to nutrition labels and stick to fat-free or low-fat Greek yogurt to avoid unnecessary intake of saturated fats that are present in every type of yogurt.
Everybody knows that too much salt does nothing but harm to our health. It can boost blood pressure, which in turn, increases the risk of heart failure significantly. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, Americans are urged to consume up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day (for older than 50 or those with diabetes/hypertension, chronic kidney disease, the sodium intake is 1,500 milligrams). You will find 50 milligrams of sodium in a Greek yogurt serving (though you can find brands with lower sodium versions) while most brands of regular yogurt have about twice that amount.
OTHER BENEFITS OF GREEK YOGURT
1. Excellent Versatility
Many use Greek yogurt to substitute sour cream and milk, because of its rich taste and thick texture. Others even use it for baking. You can make a healthy cake for the kids to take to school with yogurt instead of milk and you’ve got a healthy dessert. Also, Greek yogurt is the main ingredient of many delicious dishes and appetizers, such as the famous tzatziki. You can eat great Greek tzatziki at Greek restaurants like Pappas Grill or you can easily make it at home by adding Greek yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of vinegar and salt and there you go! A tasty, healthy, traditional Greek food!
Greek yogurt contains live microorganisms called probiotics which are known for their beneficial effects on the immune system and digestive function. Probiotics are also believed to help limit the effects related to antibiotic treatment.
3. Is one of the 6 best foods you could eat!
According to director of nutrition for WebMD, Kathleen M. Zelman, one of the 6 best foods most people are not eating is plain, fat-free Greek yogurt. From the many yogurts available on the market, Greek is a standout. Why? Because although all yogurts are excellent sources of protein, potassium, calcium, and vitamins B and B12, Greek yogurt is tastier, has twice the protein content of other regular yogurts, which is great for weight control, is lower in lactose, and contains probiotic cultures with all the aforementioned benefits. Now, if you pair Greek yogurt with your favourite whole grain cereal and fresh fruit, you have just made yourself (and your family) a nutrition-packed meal with enhanced health effects.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Harvard, found that yogurt can help you control your age-related weight better than any other food. It is estimated, that if you add a daily serving of yogurt in your diet, you’ll lose up to 1 pound every 4 years, mainly because of the effect the bacteria have on your intestines.
If you decide to go Greek, mix it with seasonings (e.g. parsley, dill, garlic) and create delicious dips for cucumber slices, celery sticks, or carrots. You can also make your tacos with Greek yogurt and avoid sour cream. Additionally, you may want to substitute oil and eggs in baked foods with Greek yogurt. Finally, you can easily skip all the fatty ingredients (e.g. butter, mayonnaise, and cream cheese) as the Greek yogurt’s thick texture makes it an excellent swap in dishes like egg salad, potato salad, and coleslaw, as well as sandwiches, among other comfort foods.
Coming from a Greek in heart and origin, Greek yogurt has won people’s hearts for all the things mentioned herein, but it all begins with the pure and profound love farmers have for their cows, sheep, and goats (their animals are their family, so those that have taken it seriously are careful of what they eat and how they live). The commitment family-brands have for sticking to traditional recipes as passed on by their ancestors. The dedication of small dairy companies to provide their children (and the children of the world) with something healthy to eat; something prepared with love and respect, for the environment, for people.
Who can beat that?
1. Hiatt, Kurtis and Haupt, Angela (2011). “Greek Yogurt Vs. Regular Yogurt: Which Is More Healthful?”. US. NEWS: HEALTH.
2. Schwader, Ashley (2013). “Benefits of Greek Yogurt”. LiveStrong.
3. California Dairy Research Foundation. “USProbiotics Home”.
4. Brody, Jane (2011). “Still Counting Calories? Your Weight-Loss Plan May Be Outdated”. The New York Times.
5. Zelman, Cathleen (2011). “6 Best Foods You’re Not Eating”. WebMD.