Is Greek yogurt good for you? What nutritionists want you to know
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Whether you’re stirring it into a sauce or serving it with fruit for breakfast – it’s safe to say that greek yogurt has found a place in almost every modern family’s fridge. But is greek yogurt good for you?
With so many low fat and low sugar options on the market it’s often hard to know what’s the healthiest yoghurt to buy in the supermarket. First source federal credit union careers from traditional natural yogurt, greek yogurt is strained during production to remove the liquid whey, giving it a thicker consistency and a rich, velvety texture which has earned itself a legion of fans.
Add to this its appearance in popular diet plans like the 5:2 diet and the best-selling Dukan diet, and you’d automatically assume that this type of dairy product is good for weight loss. But how healthy is it in reality?
Is greek yogurt good for you?
In a nutshell – yes, greek yogurt is good for you. This is because it boasts many benefits for your body, brain and overall health.
“It provides an excellent source of protein and high fibre carbohydrates,” says Mina Khan, founder of nutraceutical company Formulate Health, who has been providing nutritional advice for over 25 years. “It contains a great mix of vital minerals and vitamins, such as potassium, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.”
Foods with calcium and high protein content are good for maintaining muscle mass and improving bone health. This can help to reduce the risk of developing degenerative bone diseases like Osteoporosis. Protein is additionally important for your immune system and nerves, and is a key provider of energy.
Greek yoghurt is a great source of protein for vegetarians because it also contains the vitamin B12. Naturally occurring in animal products, vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation and good brain function. A typical serving of greek yoghurt contributes to just over 20 percent of your recommended daily B12 intake.
“It’s also packed full of probiotics (known as ‘good bacteria’) which helps aid digestion and keep our bowels healthy,” adds Mina. “It has also been shown to reduce gas, bloating, constipation and other common problems with the gut, so if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) I’d definitely recommend trying to incorporate greek yogurt into your diet.”
Its probiotic properties equally aid your immune system to protect you against viruses and bacterial infections, whilst a recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that probiotics helped reduce depression and anxiety.
Which greek yogurt brands are healthy?
Jasmine Carbon, a registered dietitian and founder of Carbon Nutrition, told GoodToKnow that both the brand and the ingredients are important factors to consider when choosing a ‘healthy’ yogurt.
“Whether it’s Yeo Valley, FAGE, Dannon or supermarket-own-brand, there are marginal differences between various brands of greek yogurt. Taking note of the fat and added sugar content is important,” she says.
“For example, flavoured greek style yogurts will have added sugars and this will increase its calorie content. Greek yogurts are available in varying levels of fat content: ‘low fat’, ‘no fat’ ‘5%’ fat and so on. Choose the yogurt which best suits your health goals and taste preferences.”
As well as Yeo Valley, FAGE and Dannon, Rachel’s Organic is another brand known for their healthy greek style natural yogurt. Their Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Natural Fat Free yogurt satisfies taste buds and features a lower sugar content.
Is greek yogurt good for weight loss and why?
Greek yogurt has many qualities which makes it good for weight loss, as Jasmine Carbon explains.
“It’s a great source of protein – providing about 14g of protein per 150g serving (that’s the size of an average yogurt pot). This is about 40% more protein than in a serving of plain natural yoghurt,” she says. “We know that taking in adequate amounts of protein spaced out across the day can help to make you feel fuller and reduce hunger cravings. If you have less hunger cravings, there is less chance of you reaching for highly refined sugar and/or high fat convenience snacks.
“Greek yogurt can also be used as a lower calorie, lower fat substitute in cooking,” adds Jasmine. “Use it instead of sour cream on chilli or in place of cream topped on soups.”
Iodine is another mineral found in greek yogurt which is essential for thyroid health and establishing a healthy metabolism. Increasing your iodine intake ups your thyroid activity and metabolic rate why is greek yogurt good for you causing you to burn more calories and lose weight. If you’re currently watching your weight we recommend making greek style yogurt one of your go-to low calorie breakfast options. Or, if you want to treat yourself the healthy way, why not try our no-bake greek yogurt cheesecake recipe?
Our greek yoghurt cheesecake recipe is a healthier way to treat yourself. (Credit: GoodToKnow)
What is the best low fat greek yogurt?
Mina Khan makes a case for FAGE whose low fat product also contains less sugar.
“The best low fat greek yogurt option is one that’s also low in sugar. A typical adult should limit their sugar intake to no more than approximately 30g a day, and as you’ll see, brands such as FAGE’s fat free greek yogurt contains just 3g of sugar per serving – making this a great choice for those wanting to watch their weight.”
We also found French brand Danone offered one of the best low fat greek yogurts on the market. Danone’s Light and Free Passion Fruit Yogurt boasts a low calorie, low fat and low salt content. It’s also handily sold as a four-pack – giving you a daily optimum serving size.
- Cal: 52 kCal per 115g serving
- Fat: 0.1g
- Sat Fat: 0.1g
- Sugar: 6.7g
- Salt: 0.2g
What is the best low sugar greek yogurt?
Keeping an eye on the amount of sugar you eat is really recommended. Too much leads to weight gain whilst too little affects your blood sugar levels causing you to feel unwell.
Nutraceutical expert Mina recommends keeping it simple when choosing your yogurt.
“If you’re wanting to limit your sugar intake, I’d recommend opting for an unflavoured, natural version,” she says. “You can always sweeten it yourself with a little honey or by adding raspberries or blueberries, which makes a really delicious snack.”
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Video of the First tech federal credit union houston low sugar greek yogurt of choice is FAGE – particularly FAGE’s Total 0% Fat Greek Yogurt. Although advertised as low fat, this product has no added sugar, only containing the natural sugar found in the milk. With three grams of sugar in every 100 gram serving, this rivals most healthy greek yogurts available.
- Cal: 54 kCal per 100g serving
- Fat: 0g
- Sat Fat: 0g
- Sugar: 3g
- Salt: 0.10g
Head to your local supermarket’s dairy department and you’ll find hundreds of yogurt brands to choose from. From dairy-free yogurts and Greek yogurts, to fruit-flavored varieties that taste like dessert, the options are pretty endless.
Whether you mix plain yogurt into a delicious spinach and yogurt dip or top a bowl full with berries and homemade granola, yogurt is a super versatile food, says Abby Langer R.D., owner of Abby Langer Nutrition and author of Good Food, Bad Diet. That’s because it’s rich in protein and high in probiotics, the good bugs that are essential to gut health.
“The more and more we learn, we see that so much of our health is related to the health of our gut,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., author of holidays national 2020 Protein-Packed Breakfast Club. “Yogurt, as a fermented food, has live cultures in it to populate why is greek yogurt good for you healthy bacteria in our gut.”
As a bonus, most yogurts are also a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which can be tricky to find naturally in foods, Harris-Pincus adds.
How to choose the healthiest yogurt brand
✔️ Pay attention to ingredients: This list should be short. “It really should be the milk, active cultures, and sometimes there’s added vitamins depending on what the brand chooses to do,” says Harris-Pincus.
✔️ Cap the sugar: Harris-Pincus notes that the American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sugar to 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men. Many yogurts can hit way beyond 20 grams per serving, she warns. (Our picks below hover around 10 grams of sugar or less.)
✔️ Look at the fat: Harris-Pincus enjoys non-fat yogurt varieties and adds her own mix wells fargo atencion al cliente representante satisfying toppings, such as why is greek yogurt good for you fruits, as well as seeds and nuts to boost the healthy fat content. Langer, meanwhile, opts for 2 to 4% percent milkfat yogurts, because she prefers the creaminess and satiety that a higher-fat yogurt offers. The option you choose really depends on what you’re looking for in consistency, taste, and nutrition.
✔️ Pump up the protein: For cow’s milk yogurt, Langer suggests aiming for a minimum of 5 grams of protein per serving. But both Langer and Harris-Pincus agree that choosing a strained yogurt brand, like a Greek yogurt, can boost that number significantly—which can ultimately help you stay fuller for longer.
Ready to find your new favorite yogurt brand? Ahead, we rounded up the healthiest picks, from plain Greek yogurts to sweeter, dessert-like varieties.
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32 OZChobani Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Harris-Pincus loves the simple ingredients, super-smooth texture, and versatility of this yogurt. It also packs live active cultures for a probiotic punch.
Nutrition per serving: 90 cal, 16 g pro, 6 g carb, 0 g fiber, 4 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 65 mg sodium
35.3 OZFAGE Total 2% Plain Greek Yogurt
“This is 100% a great yogurt,” says Langer. She especially love the taste for a plain yogurt, since it’s “not chalky at all.” Rich in protein and probiotics, it makes for a perfect midday snack.
Nutrition per serving: 120 cal, 17 g pro, 5 g carb, 0 g fiber, 5 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 3.5 g fat (2.5 g sat fat), 55 mg sodium
24 OZSiggi’s Plain Icelandic Nonfat Yogurt
Siggi’s yogurts are a type of Icelandic skyr, meaning they are super strained, resulting in a tremendously thick, lower-carb spoonful, says Harris-Pincus. Reach for this one if you’re in the mood for something creamy.
Nutrition per serving: 120 cal, 23 g pro, 8 g carb, 0 g fiber, 6 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 90 mg sodium
5.3 OZTwo Good Lowfat Lower Sugar Strawberry Greek Yogurt
Each serving contains just 2 grams of naturally occurring sugar with stevia for added sweetness. “This is quite a good product if you’re looking to keep your carbs and added sugars low, because it has sweetness, but it’s not syrupy sweet like a lot of yogurts are,” says Harris-Pincus.
Nutrition per serving: 80 cal, 12 g pro, 3 g carb, 0 g fiber, 2 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 2 g fat (1 g sat fat), 35 mg sodium
48 OZKirkland Signature Plain Organic Greek Yogurt
If you’re constantly powering through tub after tub, Costco’s Kirkland brand yogurt is a dream come true. Harris-Pincus loves that it holds up against name brands, but comes at a more economical price for nearly 50 ounces in a tub.
Nutrition per serving: 100 cal, 18 g pro, 7 g carb, 0 g fiber, 3 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), why is greek yogurt good for you mg sodium
5.3 OZ (4-Pack)Chobani Zero Sugar Vanilla Yogurt
Sweetened with allulose, a natural sugar with a low carb count, this newer-to-market option has significantly less calories compared to competitors. Plus, it’s balanced with stevia and monkfruit to keep carbs low without any bitterness, Harris-Pincus says.
Nutrition per serving: 60 cal, 11 g pro, 5 g carb, 1 g fiber, 0 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 60 mg sodium
5.3 OZSiggi’s 2% Coconut Icelandic Yogurt
“These are probably the least added sugar yogurt brand of those that have added sugar in it,” says Harris-Pincus. It can be a little sour for those who are used to sweet yogurts, Langer adds, but it is a great pick for someone craving a flavored yogurt with less sugar.
Nutrition per serving: 130 cal, 14 g pro, 10 g carb, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugars (6 g added sugars), 4 g fat (3 g sat fat), 30 mg sodium
5.3 OZFAGE Total 2% Cherry Split Cup Greek Yogurt
Instead of settling for high-sugar, fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts, Langer loves the Fage Total Split Cup Greek Yogurt for a fruity treat that keeps the sugar in check. We love the cherry flavor, but you can choose one you love, from strawberry to peach.
Nutrition per serving: 120 cal, 12 g pro, 13 g carb, 0 g fiber, 11 g sugars (6 g added sugars), 2.5 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 40 mg sodium
4.4 OZIcelandic Provisions Fruit & Nuts Skyr
This thick and creamy Icelandic-style yogurt is technically a strained cheese that boasts a protein-rich nutrition profile. We love this apple cinnamon with almonds option, which tastes like autumn in a cup.
Nutrition per serving: 170 cal, 11 g protein, 13 g carb, 0 g fiber, 9 g sugars (6 g added sugars), 8 g fat (5 g sat fat), 40 mg sodium
4.5 OZNoosa Coffee Blended Yogurt
For a more luxurious bite to your morning, this delicious pick offers real coffee extract in every spoonful for the gut benefits of yogurt and the pick-me-up perks of your cup of Joe. Just note that this option is a bit higher in sugar.
Nutrition per serving: 150 cal, 7 g pro, 17 g carb, 0 g fiber, 15 g sugars, 7 g fat (5 g sat fat), 75 mg sodium
24 OZChobani Less Sugar Madagascar Vanilla & Cinnamon Greek Yogurt
Langer backs this pick because it’s low in sugar, high in protein, and doesn’t taste artificial—“just delicious.” Rich in probiotics, go for the vanilla for a slightly sweet pick that’s perfect for parfaits.
Nutrition per serving: 130 cal, 14 g pro, 11 g carb, <1 g fiber, 10 g sugars (5 g added sugars), 3 g fat (2 g sat fat), 65 mg sodium
4.2 OZThe Collaborative Mango & Passionfruit Coconut Yogurt
Plant-based yogurts use non-dairy sources (like almonds, soy, coconuts, and cashews) to bring you all the deliciousness of your favorite snack, without the use of cow’s milk. Plus, this pick still packs probiotics and a mango flavor that’s hard to beat.
Nutrition per serving: 160 cal, 1 g protein, 14 g carb, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugars (3 g added sugars), 11 g fat (11 g sat fat), 55 mg sodium
32 OZWallaby Organic Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt
This whole milk yogurt delivers with a creamy, satisfying texture. It’s not too tart, but not to sweet, making it the ideal base for smoothies, parfaits, and even dressings—plus you’ll get 15 grams of protein per serving.
Nutrition per serving: 160 cal, 15 g pro, 8 g carb, 0 g fiber, 5 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 8 g fat (5 g sat fat), 60 mg sodium
14Trader Joe's Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
For those who want the protein-packed health perks of Greek yogurt, but crave a thinner texture, Harris-Pincus suggests snagging the Trader Joe’s brand.
Nutrition per serving:110 cal, 17 g pro, 7 g carb, 0 g fiber, 5 g sugars (0 g added sugars), 0 g fat (0 g sat fat), 75 mg sodium
$4.99, 32 oz.
Arielle WegArielle Weg is the associate editor at Prevention and loves to share her favorite wellness and nutrition obsessions.
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Yogurt’s moment as an ultimate health food is still going strong. Case in point: A new study in over 6,500 men and women, published in Nutrition Research, found that people who why is greek yogurt good for you more than two servings of yogurt a week had better overall diets, consuming more potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B2 and B12. That’s one reason they were healthier, too, with lower triglycerides, glucose, and systolic blood pressure than those who ate yogurt less often.
Yes, yogurt eaters have more nutritious eating habits. The study found they tend to consume fewer calories from processed meat, refined grains, and beer, and more produce, nuts, fish, and whole grains than yogurt-skippers.
“But even after accounting for the healthier diets of yogurt consumers, we found that eating yogurt itself leads to a healthier diet because it supplies three nutrients that many Americans don’t get enough of: potassium, calcium, and vitamin B12,” says study coauthor Paul Jacques, D.Sc., director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Laboratory at Tufts University.
We know your grocery store is stocked to the gills with options, so here’s how to make a smart pick:
First, avoid the yogurts that are akin to “flavored milk jellos,” as registered dietitian Alexandra Caspero, owner of weight-management and sports-nutrition service Delicious-Knowledge.com, calls them. Check out the ingredients label—it should basically contain cultured milk and cultures (the GI-healthy probiotics like S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, etc.)
Prefer Greek yogurt instead of the traditional kind? Either is fine. Aside from the differences in protein (per cup: over 20 grams in plain Greek versus 10 g in regular), you’ll be getting the same nutrients and probiotics. “There’s nothing ‘magical’ about Greek yogurt, although more protein can aid in satiety,” says Caspero. Here are Caspero's picks for the best yogurts for men:
1. Stonyfield Greek 0% Fat Vanilla Yogurt
Yes, it’s flavored, but with organic sugar and no added colors or flavors, it’s a solid pick for 170 calories and 22 g of protein per cup.
2. Stonyfield Fat-Free Plain Yogurt
“With 10 grams of protein and 110 calories per cup, this is a good choice to add into smoothies, oatmeal, or cereal with a tiny drizzle of honey or maple syrup," Caspero says.
3. So Delicious Dairy Free Cultured Almond Milk Greek Style
"Great for guys who can't tolerate dairy for whatever reason," Caspero says. "Though almond milk is traditionally lower in protein, this yogurt is pumped up with pea protein for 7 grams per container and only 140 calories."
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Is Greek yogurt healthy?
By comparison, 100g of low-fat plain Greek yogurt contains less calories, protein and fat but is higher in carbohydrates. Pre-mixed, flavoured fruit varieties will typically also be higher in carbohydrates because of the added fruit or sugar.
Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium which is needed for healthy bones and teeth as well as muscle contractions, and it contains a good array of B vitamins which we need for energy. Greek yogurt also contains iodine which helps support thyroid health and metabolic rate (the speed at which chemical reactions take place in the body) and also helps keep our cells healthy.
Is Greek yogurt high in protein?
Standard Greek yogurt is a good source of protein with around 5g per 100g.
There are some yogurt products now available which have a similar consistency to Greek yogurt, called Skyr. They are naturally higher in protein and have around 10g of protein per 100g, but technically they are classed as a sour milk cheese.
Does Greek yogurt contain probiotics?
Yes, most Greek yogurts do contain probiotics, as long as they are labelled as containing ‘live cultures’ – check the label to be sure.
Read more about probiotics.
What is a healthy serving of Greek yogurt?
A healthy serving is around 110g or 5-6 tablespoons of Greek yogurt as part of a balanced diet. It can added to breakfast, used as a snack or in cooking.
Can you be allergic to Greek yogurt?
Yes – people who are allergic to cow’s milk will be allergic to Greek yogurt. Speak to your GP if you experience any concerning symptoms, such as a tickly throat or cough, sneezing or an itchy tongue after consuming milk or yogurt.
Less commonly, a severe allergic reaction can occur, known as anaphylaxis. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
Visit the NHS website to read more about allergies.
It’s also possible to have an intolerance to cow’s milk or lactose, which is different to an allergy. Read more about food intolerances.
How to buy the best Greek yogurt
There are many different varieties of Greek yogurt available and some of this will come down to personal preference or taste.
Plain Greek yogurt is a good choice, as they contain good quantities of all the macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates and no added sugar or sweeteners. You could add prepared fresh fruit such as bananas, apples or berries, if you like.
You can also buy varieties that are pre-flavoured with fruit purées or honey – these are likely to be higher in sugar and calories, so may be best enjoyed as an occasional treat.
Low-fat or fat-free varieties will be lower in calories (and of course, fat) but bear in mind that they may also contain more sugar – manufacturers often add this to ‘make up’ the lost flavour when the fat is reduced. If you’re looking to control your calorie intake, home remedy for nasal congestion sinus infection smaller portion size of normal Greek yogurt may be best, and the fat content will provide longer satiety.
Check the labels to ensure that the variety you are buying contains probiotics for extra health benefits.
Healthy Greek yogurt recipes
Tangy trout with simple garden salad
Mushroom & chickpea burgers
Fruit & nut breakfast bowl
Porridge with blueberry compote
Frozen strawberry yogurt
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This page was published on 2nd March 2020.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and why is greek yogurt good for you not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
The Expert-Backed Guide to Full-Fat vs. Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Picture this: After walking up and down supermarket aisles checking items off your meal prep shopping list, you finally get to the last aisle — the dairy section — with a plan to just grab a few containers of yogurt and get outta there. That is until you look at the jam-packed shelves. With so many options, you're suddenly overwhelmed and asking yourself, what's the best Greek yogurt? Do I want full-fat Greek yogurt vs. nonfat? And wait, is Greek yogurt even healthy?
When it comes to full-fat Greek yogurt vs. nonfat Greek yogurt, the major difference between the two is the milk used during production. The full-fat version is made with whole milk, while the non-fat or fat-free is made with skim milk. Nutritionally their fat content makes them very different, and while neither nonfat nor full-fat Greek yogurt is bad for you, there are situations where one might be a better choice.
First, let's quickly discuss the difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt. Essentially, yogurt becomes "Greek" yogurt when it's strained to remove whey protein, which is the liquid that remains after the curdling process, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This also rids the yogurt of lactose (sugar). Without the liquid whey and sugar, the dairy product takes on a thicker, creamier consistency, and the protein becomes more concentrated. It's also left with a higher amount of gut-friendly probiotics and, unfortunately, a slightly lower amount of calcium. The good news? Some brands fortify their Greek yogurt with the bone-strengthening nutrient, but not all. So, if you're looking to boost your calcium levels, be sure to look at the nutrition labels on both full-fat and nonfat Greek yogurt to determine which is the best Greek yogurt for you. (Related: 12 Yogurt Health Benefits That Show Off Its Nutritional Power)
Now, back to the full-fat vs. nonfat Greek yogurt conversation, beginning with a breakdown of Greek yogurt nutrition. Here's a nutritional comparison of one container (6 ounces or 170 grams) of Fage Total 5%, which is full-fat, and Fage Total 0%, which is nonfat.
As you can see, the 7 grams of total fat difference plays a significant role in the calories in Greek yogurt. If your diet consists of about 1,800 calories a day, then a 6-ounce container of fat-free Greek yogurt is going to be an appropriate snack. But if you eat more calories (about 2,200 to 2,400 calories a day), full-fat Greek yogurt (vs. nonfat) might be a better option for you.
So which is the best Greek yogurt? It depends. Some people prefer full-fat Greek yogurt (vs. nonfat) as a standalone snack since it's well-rounded nutritionally, with a hefty dose of fat and protein that will help you feel satiated — plus its creaminess can make it seem more indulgent than nonfat Greek yogurt. That being said, if you're trying to maintain a calorie deficit to, say, lose weight, then the full-fat variety might not be the best Greek yogurt for you. When you compare calories in Greek yogurt, the nonfat variety boasts a lower number of calories, thereby allowing you to be more versatile with toppings and still have a low-calorie snack. You can add some flaxseeds or chia seeds to your Greek yogurt, as well as fresh raspberries and your pick-me-up will still have less than 300 calories. (Here are even more ideas for some tasty low-calorie snacks for weight loss.)
You may be wondering, but isn't saturated fat in Greek yogurt bad for you? Since full-fat Greek yogurt is made with whole milk, it's going to have a higher saturated fat content. In the example above, 7 grams in spire bill pay phone number cup shouldn't send your diet into a tailspin, as that figure will only make up a small (think: ~3-4 percent) of your total calories for the day. So even if you're following a low-saturated-fat diet, you'll still have plenty of room (about another 4 to 5 percent) for additional calories from saturated fat from foods you eat throughout the rest of the day.
But, of course, it's not all about calories. In fact, you can't talk about full-fat Greek yogurt vs. nonfat Greek yogurt without taking a moment to discuss the variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in both versions. Take protein, for example: As evidenced in the above nutritional breakdown, nonfat and full-fat Greek yogurts are both packed with 18 grams st maria goretti san jose protein per container. They also have 5-6 grams of carbohydrates per serving, thereby providing an A+ protein to carb ratio that can be particularly good for fueling up pre-workout. (See also: The Best Foods to Eat Before and After Your Workout)
What's more, they're both a good source of calcium — 240 mg in full-fat Fage, 200 mg in nonfat Fage — and blood-pressure-controlling potassium — 300 mg in full-fat Fage, 260 mg in nonfat Fage. So, the next time you ask yourself if Greek yogurt is healthy, remember these impressive nutrition numbers.
The bottom line: Greek yogurt is an easy way to add more protein (among other essential nutrients!) to your diet, so when it comes to full-fat vs. nonfat Greek yogurt, just choose the variety that fits your diet and satisfies your taste buds. (And then consider giving one of these savory Greek yogurt recipes a go next time you're looking to try something new.
Plain, Greek, Low-Fat: Which Yogurt Is Healthiest for You and Why
Yogurt is one of the oldest fermented dairy foods in the world. Its origins date back to the dawn of civilization. When humans began domesticating animals for milk production, milk’s short shelf life required solutions for storing it.
The word “yogurt” itself comes from Turkish, meaning something like “curdled” or “thickened milk,” which is pretty much what happens to milk during yogurt production.
Like milk, yogurt is a rich source of calcium and protein. And it provides other nutrients such as iodine, vitamins D, B2 and B12, and zinc.
But yogurt is actually more nutritious than milk. The main reason is that the fermentation process makes it easier to digest, so the nutrients can be absorbed more easily into the body.
Yet with all the various types, like Greek and liquid yogurts, and ones with added fruits and probiotics, how do you know which one is healthiest?
Yogurt is made by introducing certain bacteria into fresh milk —typically Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus.
Usually, both these bacteria are present in yogurt and form the yogurt starter culture. Their synergistic relationship is a key factor in the consistency of the final product. These cultures may also provide some health benefits, such as reducing the severity and duration of diarrhea.
The bacteria ferment the naturally occurring milk sugar (lactose) for energy and growth. During this process, lactose becomes lactic acid. The acidity development leads to the main milk protein, casein, breaking down and losing some of its elementary structure.
This partial breakdown results in the semi-solid, gel-like structure we know as yogurt. The lactic acid is also responsible for yogurt’s sour flavors, as well as helping it stay fresher for longer than milk.
What Makes Yoghurt Healthy?
Yogurt is easier to digest than milk because enzymes involved in the fermentation process break down substances, such as lactose, into smaller compounds, which can be readily absorbed and used by the body. And certain minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and iron, are better used by the body when they come from yogurt.
And because lactose is broken down and converted to lactic acid during fermentation, lactose-intolerant people can consume yogurt without adverse effects.
Consuming yogurt is associated with many health benefits, including maintaining a healthy microbiota (the colony of bacteria in your gut). Yogurt can feed the good bacteria and help them fight against disease-causing microorganisms.
Yogurt consumption helps to maintain bone structure and has even been found to reduce the risk of certain cancers and infectious diseases, as it enhances the immune response. Yogurt can help reduce symptoms of conditions such as constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, infection with a bacterium that can damage the stomach lining (Helicobacter pylori), diarrheal diseases, and some allergic reactions, such as to certain foods.
Types of Yogurt
Cow’s milk is the most widely used raw ingredient for yogurt manufacturing. But other types, such as sheep and goat milk yogurt, are available. There are slight differences in the nutritional composition among these milk types.
Although cow’s milk is generally more appealing (as goat and sheep milk may have unpleasant smells), the latter two may provide additional health benefits. For instance, goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Non-dairy alternatives such as soy and coconut milk yogurt are becoming increasingly popular, too.
The most commonly known types of yogurt are plain set yogurt, flavored yogurt, Greek yogurt, frozen yogurt, and drinking yogurt.
Plain set yogurt is usually made from dairy ingredients and fermented in the cups or tubs with no sugar or sweeteners.
Flavored yogurt is made by adding sugar and fruit or other flavorings to plain yogurt. Often, the milk mixture is fermented in large vats, cooled and then stirred for a creamy texture with various fruits or other flavors. These stirred yogurts are also known as Swiss-style yogurts.
Greek yogurt is a thick yogurt. It’s traditionally prepared by straining the water known as whey from plain yogurt to make it thicker, richer, and creamier. It contains more protein than regular yogurt and has no added sugar.
Frozen yogurt is frozen ice milk with a typical yogurt flavor. It tastes more like ice cream with a hint of yogurt.
Drinking season 10 cast married at first sight are prepared from a yogurt mix with reduced milk solids. They come in almost every variety and flavor. They’re usually more watery, but some thick varieties are also available. Kefir and lassi are the popular drinking yogurt types.
Added Ingredients for Health Purposes
Many yogurts contain added ingredients. These include cholesterol-lowering compounds (such as stanol and sterol esters) and fiber aimed at improving gut health.
Some yogurts also have added probiotics. These are live microorganisms that can help establish a healthy gut microbiota. The most widely used probiotics are the acidophilus strain, known as Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium. These could be useful for people who have gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Probiotics can be more effective when consumed in yogurt than through capsules or other beverages.
The two bacteria in yogurt starter culture — S. thermophilus and L. delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus — are not natural inhabitants of the intestine and cannot survive the acidic conditions and bile concentrations in the gastrointestinal tract. So they don’t do much to change the microbiota in your gut. In contrast, probiotics can survive and colonize the large intestine.
Regular intake of yogurt that contains microbial cultures such as probiotic acidophilus has also been found to potentially reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by helping to decrease cholesterol absorption.
Which Yogurt Is Better for You?
When whole milk is used to produce plain yogurts, these may contain 3.5-4.4 grams of fat per 100g. Low-fat yogurt contains less than 3g of fat per 100g, and non-fat or fat-free yogurts must contain less than 0.15g fat per 100g.
High fat and high sugar in any food can lead to health problems. So, a low-fat and low-sugar yogurt product, like a low-fat Greek yogurt, would be ideal if you’re looking to keep healthy.
Yogurt products incorporating fruit or nuts can provide additional nutritional and health benefits, but many of these can also contain added sugar. Adding fresh fruit or nuts to a yogurt yourself is a healthier option.
If you would like to have probiotic effects, you can choose a product with acidophilus or bifidobacteria.
You should check the product label as it is a legal requirement to list all the ingredients, cultures, and nutritional information in commercial yogurts. When it comes to probiotic yogurts, it’s always better to choose a fresh product rather than one closer to the expiration date, as probiotics die during storage.
This article was originally published on The Conversation by Senaka Ranadheera, Duane Mellor, Nenad Naumovski, and Said Ajlouni. Read the original article here.
6 Fantastic Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a protein-rich dairy product with a variety of culinary uses.
It’s an excellent source of a number of nutrients and may even offer a few health benefits. However, it’s important to choose the right type of Greek yogurt, as many can be packed with additives like added sugar.
This article explains what makes Greek yogurt a healthy choice and what to look for when shopping for this popular dairy product.
What is Greek yogurt?
Yogurt is a dairy product that has been consumed since ancient times. In fact, the Greeks were the first to document the use of yogurt in 100 BC (1).
The word “yogurt” is believed to have come from the Turkish word “yoğurmak,” which means to thicken, curdle, or coagulate.
Many types of yogurt are available, including Greek-style, which has a higher protein content than other yogurt products (1).
Greek yogurt, often referred to as “strained” yogurt, why is greek yogurt good for you made by fermenting yogurt in tanks and then straining whey and other liquids during the final processing steps. The process results in a thicker product with a higher protein content.
Additionally, some food manufacturers produce Greek-style yogurt by adding milk proteins to the yogurt at the beginning or end of processing ().
Greek yogurt comes in many varieties, including full fat, reduced fat, and fat-free, as well as flavored and unflavored.
Greek yogurt is high in many nutrients and a good source of protein, fat, and carbs, depending on the brand you choose.
Here’s the nutrition breakdown of a 7-ounce (200-gram) serving of low fat, plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt ().
- Calories: 146
- Protein: 20 grams
- Fat: 3.8 grams
- Carbs: 7.8 grams
- B12: 43% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Riboflavin (B2): 35% of the DV
- Pantothenic acid (B5): 19% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 20% of the DV
- Calcium: 18% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 22% of the DV
- Potassium: 6% of the DV
- Zinc: 11% of the DV
- Selenium: 45% of the DV
As you can see, Greek yogurt provides a number of nutrients and is particularly rich in protein, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2), and selenium.
It’s also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, pantothenic acid, vitamin A, and potassium. Additionally, Greek yogurt contains smaller amounts of nutrients like magnesium, choline, and copper.
Compared with regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in carbs ().
Keep in mind that its nutritional content will vary depending on the type of Greek yogurt. For example, full fat Greek yogurt will be higher in fat and calories than lower fat options, while sweetened and flavored options will be higher in carbs and added sugar.
Greek yogurt health benefits
Given Greek yogurt’s impressive nutrient profile, it has been linked to several health benefits.
1. Good source of protein and other nutrients
One of the main benefits of Greek yogurt is that it’s rich in protein, a macronutrient needed for virtually all chemical reactions in the body, healthy immune function, tissue repair, and more ().
Protein needs vary, but a protein intake of 0.54–0.9 grams per pound (1.2–2 grams per kg) of body weight is likely optimal for physically active people ().
A 7-ounce (200-gram) serving of Greek yogurt provides 20 grams of protein, which makes it a high protein food.
In addition to protein, Greek yogurt is rich in essential vitamins and minerals including B12, selenium, and zinc — all of which play important roles in supporting your health.
For example, both zinc and selenium are required for optimal immune function, while B12 is needed for red blood cell formation, nervous system function, and energy production (, ).
2. May benefit bone health
Greek yogurt contains a number of nutrients that are necessary for maintaining the health of the skeletal system, including protein, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus ().
Not only are the nutrients found in Greek yogurt required for bone health maintenance, but eating Greek yogurt may even help increase bone formation.
A small study among young men found that consuming Greek yogurt daily while participating in a resistance-training program for 12 weeks helped increase bone formation and decrease bone breakdown compared with a placebo ().
Yogurt intake has also been linked to greater bone mineral density and a lower risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis among older adults ().
3. May support gut health
Research suggests that eating yogurt regularly may help support a healthy digestive system by increasing bacterial diversity in the guts of some people ().
However, the type of Greek yogurt consumed matters. Purchasing yogurt with a “Live & Active Cultures (LAC) seal” ensures that the yogurt contains a significant amount of beneficial bacteria or probiotics, which may help support gut health.
Also, it’s important to only choose unsweetened Greek yogurt, as research shows that added sugar can harm gut health and contribute to dysbiosis or bacterial imbalance ().
4. May support muscle recovery and healthy body composition
Consuming enough protein is essential for promoting overall health and muscle recovery.
Greek yogurt is a great post-workout why is greek yogurt good for you option for athletes. Its high protein content may promote muscle protein synthesis and recovery (, ).
A study in young men found that consuming yogurt daily for 12 weeks while participating in a resistance-training program led to greater gains in muscle strength, muscle thickness, and fat-free mass compared with a placebo ().
5. May help keep you full and support a healthy body weight
Protein is the most filling macronutrient, and adding sources of protein why is greek yogurt good for you such as dairy — to meals and snacks is a smart way to help you feel satisfied between meals ().
Because yogurt is a filling, protein-rich food, choosing yogurt and other high protein foods over less filling foods can help support a healthy body weight.
A review of 22 studies concluded that yogurt consumption is associated with lower body fat, less weight gain, and smaller waist circumference ().
However, remember that your overall diet and lifestyle matters most when it comes to reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight.
6. Versatile and delicious
In addition to providing a number of nutrients and being linked to a few potential health benefits, Greek yogurt is a versatile ingredient that tastes great in both sweet and savory recipes alike.
Here are a few ways to use Greek yogurt in your kitchen:
- Top Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries, chopped nuts like almonds or walnuts, unsweetened coconut, and chia seeds for a filling breakfast.
- Use it as a base for sweet and savory dips.
- Add Greek yogurt to soups and curries for a creamy texture.
- Top oatmeal, pancakes, baked potatoes, and chili with a dollop of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
- Use it to make homemade salad dressings.
- Try out Greek yogurt in chicken, tuna, and pasta salads.
- Make frozen desserts like yogurt pops out of Greek yogurt.
- Add it to smoothies for a punch of protein.
These are just a few ways to use Greek yogurt. Don’t be afraid to experiment with Greek yogurt in recipes of your own!
What to look for when shopping for Greek yogurt
When shopping for Greek yogurt, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Most yogurts on the market are flavored and sweetened, and they can contain a significant amount of added sugar.
For example, some flavored, sweetened varieties can contain upwards of 16 grams of added sugar per serving. That’s about 4 teaspoons of added sugar.
While you don’t have to avoid sugar at all costs for optimal health, it’s important to limit your intake of added sugar.
That’s because consuming too much added sugar can contribute to health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, depression, and obesity (, ).
As such, it’s a smart choice to purchase unsweetened Greek yogurt and add your own toppings, such as fruit, for natural sweetness.
In terms of fat content, keep in mind that Greek yogurt made with whole milk contains more fat and calories than low fat or fat-free yogurt, but that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy ().
In fact, full fat dairy may have more health benefits than reduced fat or skim dairy.
If you prefer full fat Greek yogurt, that’s perfectly OK. The same goes for fat-free Greek yogurt.
The bottom line
Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt that’s high in protein and other nutrients like vitamin B12, calcium, and selenium.
It’s linked to a few health benefits, such as supporting muscle and bone health, and certain types may help contribute to a healthy gut.
Plus, it’s a filling and nutritious kitchen staple that can be used in a variety of both sweet and savory recipes.