Today, if you walk through the yogurt aisle of any supermarket, you’ll find it lined with hundreds of varieties and brands of Greek yogurt. In fact, according to a report, the sales of Greek yogurt in the United States increased by 50% and reached $1.6 billion in 2012.
So, what is Greek yogurt? What is Greek yogurt made of? How is it different from traditional yogurt? For answers to all these questions, read further.
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How is Greek Yogurt Made?
Greek yogurt is essentially a dairy product which is made in the same way as traditional yogurt. The milk is first heated and cooled and to this, bacterial cultures i.e. Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are added. The bacteria ferment the milk and lactic acid is produced and yogurt is made. The fermentation process imparts the distinct tangy taste to the yogurt.
The thing that makes Greek yogurt different from regular yogurt is that the yogurt is strained to remove the watery whey and what is left behind is Greek yogurt.
Because the whey is removed, Greek yogurt has a thicker and creamier texture and a rich flavor. In addition, removing the whey produces a healthier yogurt, which has around 40% less sugar, 38% less sodium and over 2x more protein than regular yogurt. Every spoonful of Greek yogurt is loaded with nutrients and it offers several health benefits.
So, if you’re looking for a thicker and creamier version of the regular yogurt, then Greek yogurt is definitely a “must try” and you can even opt for flavored or just eat it plain. You can eat Greek yogurt by itself as a snack or you can add it to your recipes, smoothies and desserts.
Nutrition Profile of Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is considered as a healthy alternative to other types of desserts. Not only is it delicious, it is nutritious too, without the calories. In fact, Greek yogurt is often used as a healthy substitute instead of mayonnaise, sour cream or crème fraiche.
Greek yogurt is considered to be healthy because it contains more protein when compared to regular yogurt. In fact, a serving of Greek yogurt has around 12-17 grams of protein. And, because the whey is strained off, Greek yogurt contains less sugar and carbs compared to regular yogurt. It has healthy bacteria that can help to boost immunity and improve gut health.
One cup of Greek yogurt (plain) can help you meet the recommended daily dietary guidelines of 3 servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Greek yogurt can also be good for you if you are lactose intolerant because the yogurt is easier to digest as the bacteria help to break down the milk sugars very easily.
Below is the nutrition breakdown of the various types of Greek yogurt.
Greek Yogurt (Whole Milk) (Serving: 100 grams)
Greek Yogurt (Low-Fat) (Serving: 100 grams)
Greek Yogurt (Non-Fat) (Serving: 100 grams)
The nutrients contained in Greek yogurt make it healthy food. Read on to know how the ingredients what is Greek yogurt made of can offer several benefits for your health.
Benefits of Greek Yogurt
As we know, Greek yogurt has almost twice the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt. Since the protein takes a longer time to be digested by the body, it can help you feel full and satisfied for a longer time. This is particularly important if you’re trying to lose weight and want to curb your appetite in between your meals. And, if you get hungry, having Greek yogurt is a healthy way to help reduce your cravings.
The probiotics contained in Greek yogurt helps to improve digestive health. The digestive tract contains both good, as well as bad bacteria, and eating Greek yogurt, which contains probiotics can help to increase the good bacteria in your gut. The more good bacteria that are present in your gut, the lesser are the chances for harmful bacteria to grow.
Maintaining a balance of good bacteria can help to prevent gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and it also helps to keep you regular. Probiotics can also help if you are suffering from intestinal diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Greek yogurt contains nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium which work together and help in promoting healthy and strong bones and helps to prevent problems such as osteoporosis.
Low Amount of Lactose
Dairy products such as milk contain milk sugar or lactose and if you suffer from lactose intolerance it can cause problems in the digestive tract such as diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. However, Greek yogurt is low in lactose and 6 oz of non-fat Greek yogurt contains only 4 grams of lactose and the lower amount of lactose in Greek yogurt is because of the straining process.
The probiotics in the Greek yogurt help to break down the lactose and makes it easier to digest. This makes Greek yogurt great food for people suffering from lactose intolerance.
Low Carbohydrate Content
If you are on a low-carb diet or suffer from diabetes and need to watch your carb intake, then Greek yogurt is excellent as it has a low-carbohydrate content. 100 grams of plain Greek yogurt made from whole milk contains only 4 grams of carbs.
Greek yogurt is excellent, healthy food and it has all the ingredients that make it nutritious and good for health. Along with tasting great, Greek yogurt will leave you satisfied and happy.