Of late, the popularity of Greek yogurt has been on the rise. Walk into any supermarket and you will see rows upon rows of Greek yogurt, available in thousands of varieties. Seems like everyone just loves this so-called specialty product. So much so, that the sales of this wondrous product shot upwards of $9 billion! Suddenly everyone wants a piece of this food, with everyone scrambling to tell you how good it is for your health.
We have all seen trends rise and fall; some of them remain, some of them fade away. We are talking about the sudden popularity of certain foods, such as chia seeds, whole grain products, and rooibos tea, among others; the list is quite long. That makes one wonder about the actual nutritional qualities of some of these products because people would go on being healthy without them too. While the nutritional qualities of some of them, such as kimchi and sauerkraut are proven, some others fade with time. So how much protein in Greek yogurt? Let’s find out in this article.
It has been a well-established fact that dairy or dairy products are important for a well-balanced daily diet and play a key role in your overall well-being. And one of the ever-popular dairy products is yogurt because it goes with nearly every type of food. And to add to this versatility, along came Greek yogurt and took people’s taste buds by storm. It was suddenly touted because of its creamy, rich texture and presence of other nutrients, such as calcium.
That begs the question — just how much protein is in Greek yogurt? For long, the health factor of dairy products have been in question, because of their high saturated fat content that is not considered “cool” and is linked to several cholesterol-related problems. For years, health organizations have been maintaining that people consume dairy products that are not so high in fat content for their health’s sake.
And yet again, people who had turned their attention away from dairy products are slowing turning towards them, thanks to Greek yogurt. This is because not many foods can claim to be so “dense” with nutrition when compared with Greek yogurt. There are many health benefits attached to Greek yogurt which we shall list later in this article. What’s more, it’s easy to make at home. And if you would like to make it even easier we’ve reviewed the best Greek yogurt makers available.
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Nutritional Facts about Greek Yogurt
The process of making Greek yogurt is not very different from making regular yogurt. Milk is first heated, and then cooled down to an ideal temperature for fermentation, and added with bacterial cultures. On fermentation, the mixture produces lactic acid and the milk proteins are gelled to make yogurt. When liquid whey and lactose are removed from this mixture using an extensive procedure, a tangy, thick textured yogurt known as Greek yogurt is produced.
The Protein Value
One of the three nutrients that provides massive amounts of energy is protein, which is also essential for fluid balance, the immune system and the nerves. It also fights off illness and helps keep your skin healthy (maintenance and repair), muscle building, cell growth and transferring oxygen across cell membranes.
About 0.7 grams of protein is recommended by health experts for every kilogram of your body weight, per day. So, if your body weight is about 176 pounds (80 kilos), your intake should be approximately 57 grams. Depending upon which product you are using, a regular, 7-ounce container of Greek yogurt contains about 18-20 grams of protein, which is approximately 40% of your daily requirement. In some products, the percentage of protein can be as high as 24%.
For those who are looking to avoid meat in their diet, Greek yogurt is a great substitute.
The Goodness of Vitamin B12
Though you do not need a lot of vitamin B12, it is essential that you have it in your diet. This because its deficiency can lead to serious health issues as you grow older. If you have seafood and meats in your diet, you are getting more than enough supplement of vitamin B12. Compare this with vegans, who have difficulty fulfilling their B12 requirement through just food.
But if you are adding Greek yogurt (or even regular yogurt) to your diet, this requirement is fulfilled. Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells, preventing anemia and proper functioning of the central nervous system and metabolism. It is also water soluble.
The Food and Drug Administration says that your daily intake of vitamin B12 should be approximately 6 micrograms. Greek yogurt has this in abundance and also contains vitamins B2 and B5. A 7-ounce portion can contain as much as 20% vitamin B12! Before purchasing the product, make sure you scrutinize the nutritional chart (on the back of the box) if you are buying it off the shelves.
How Probiotics Help
Most yogurts contain an active strain of “good bacteria” but a lot of products advertise “enriched with probiotics” quite boldly on the packaging. Some yogurt cultures, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and Lactobacillus casei promote a healthy digestive tract and boost the immune system. They are very helpful in preventing gastrointestinal colon diseases, indigestion, and even constipation. So that is also one of the reasons a lot of Americans opt for a container of Greek yogurt after their meals!
Recent studies have found that probiotics may have a positive impact on mental health. A few strains of “good bacteria” have been found beneficial in the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder and even depression. But always remember that Greek yogurt is not a cure for these conditions we mentioned, but a food product. If you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms of the above, don’t go off extolling the virtues of Greek yogurt; you should be consulting a certified health professional for that.
We should also tell you that all these health benefits do not explicitly cover all the products available on the market. The reason for this is that some products go through a process of pasteurization, a process that can kill the probiotic bacteria. At the same time, you can make fun recipes with Greek yogurt, owing to the fact that it does not curdle when it is heated, unlike regular yogurt.
A Rich Source of Minerals
Greek yogurt contains a plethora of minerals. It is a rich source of magnesium, iron, and zinc, and also contains potassium and calcium, which is extremely essential for teeth and healthy bones. A 7-ounce container of Greek yogurt contains about 20-25% of calcium, which is quite adequate for your well being. For people who are lactose intolerant, Greek yogurt is considered a great boon because it is lactose-free and calcium rich, and is easy to digest.
A 7-ounce portion of yogurt would contain about 350-mg of potassium, which is about 8-10% of the required value of your daily intake. Other minerals that Greek yogurt contains are riboflavin (also called vitamin B2, an energy booster), is crucial in preventing diseases and increases blood circulation. It also contains phosphorus (it boosts digestion, reduces weakness, strengthens teeth and bones) and is vital in other biological processes.
The Richness of Calcium
Because Greek yogurt is drained, it may lose some calcium content. But it does not mean it is entirely lacking in it. A regular-sized container (7-ounce) of Greek yogurt can contain as much as 19%-25% of calcium (that you require as your daily intake). You already know how important it is for not only keeping your bones and teeth healthy but also for normal heart rhythm, muscle contraction and blood clotting.
Calcium also plays an important role in the production of cortisol, which is a hormone that regulates metabolism and regulates inflammation.
Since the process of making Greek yogurt involves the removal of liquid whey, it is left with a texture that is rich and creamy and has less sugar and carbohydrates than regular yogurt.
A word of caution here — a lot of commercially available Greek yogurts add sugar and flavors for aggressive selling and make the flavors more palatable. So, the sugar content in these Greek yogurts can vary from 4.5% to as high as almost 19%, so it is always a good idea to check the back of the box.
The fat content of the Greek yogurt of your choice would depend entirely on the kind of milk the yogurt is made from. It can be made from all kinds of milk, regardless of it being fat-free, low fat or full milk, and is clearly advertised on the box.
The content of fat in Greek yogurt made out of whole milk is quite high because it gets concentrated during the straining process. If you are someone who is looking for a high-calorie diet, full-fat Greek yogurt is great for you. Some brands advertise as much as 33% fat content, which is a great thing because it helps you feel satiated for a long time.
On the other hand, if you prefer fat-free Greek yogurt, you can supplement it with rich toppings such as chia seeds or flaxseeds and still enjoy a low-calorie snack.
Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt
In this article about how much protein there is in Greek yogurt, and is one of the healthiest when it comes to dairy products, provided it has no added sugar. It is packed with proteins and a variety of minerals that contribute to your overall well-being. So try to include Greek yogurt in your daily diet, and see the results for yourself!