Move over regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is moving in! All the major brands in dairy products are jumping on the bandwagon and adding “Greek yogurt” to their product line. And, shoppers are following suit as it certainly seems to fly off the shelf at my local Kroger.
So, is Greek yogurt better for my family than regular yogurt? In regards to nutrition, both regular and Greek yogurt, in the plain, non fat, or low fat forms, can be part of a healthy diet. The major benefit is that Greek yogurt can be twice as high in protein, lower in carbohydrates, and can contain as little as half the sugar of regular yogurt. The trade off is that Greek yogurt is lower in calcium than traditional yogurt. However, there are lots of brands with varying nutritional values, so you really need to do your homework and check the food labels.
So, why does Greek yogurt have a differing nutritional profile than regular yogurt? Well, it all relates to the way Greek yogurt is made. Greek yogurt is extensively strained which removes much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar. Here is a more detailed look at the advantages/disadvantages of choosing Greek yogurt:
Greek yogurt has more protein than the regular variety. A 6 oz. serving of Greek yogurt contains an average of 15 to 20 grams of protein, significantly more than regular yogurt, which averages 5 to 10 g. This makes it a great option for vegetarians who might find it difficult to meet their protein requirements everyday. The higher protein content keeps you feeling full longer too!
Less Sugar and Carbohydrates
Greek yogurt can be a smart choice for low carb dieters. Greek yogurt contains approximately to 6-8 g of carbs per 6 oz. serving, while regular plain yogurt contains about 13 -17g. (This is because of the whey and lactose removed during the straining process) But, remember that Greek yogurt with fruit blended in or sweetened with sugar or another sweetening agent can actually be high in carbs . So, be sure to check the label.
Thicker and Creamier
Greek yogurt is significantly thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. This can make it a great option as a healthier substitute for things like cream cheese or sour cream in recipes. Also, the thicker consistency does makes Greek yogurt more filling. Again, be sure to look for low fat or non fat varieties.
Lower in Calcium
One disadvantage is that Greek yogurt loses some calcium during the manufacturing process, when whey is strained out. Regular plain yogurt contains an average of 35 percent of the daily value for calcium for a 2,000-calorie diet, but Greek yogurt only has about 20 percent. If yogurt is one of the main sources of calcium in your diet this would definitely be something to consider.
Higher Price Tag
Greek yogurt is significantly more expensive than regular yogurt. The good news is that since it is the “new thing”, you can often find “specials” or coupons for different brands.
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