Full-Fat Greek Yogurt Is Actually Better For You Than The No-Fat Stuff
From the Redbook
If you're a milk buff but don't top your parfaits and creamy breakfast bowls with Greek yogurt, it's time to start. The creamy, versatile stuff not only tastes good in everything from baked goods to potatoes to smoothies, but Greek yogurt is absolutely good for you for a number of reasons too.
"I love the texture and taste of Greek yogurt," says nutritionist Maya Feller, RD, CDN. "It's a great way to add tons of nutrients to your diet, and I find it very easy to incorporate into every single meal - not just breakfast."
Of course, like all yogurt, not all Greek yogurt is created equal. "Ideally, your Greek yogurt should contain around 200 calories, at least 2 percent fat, less than 10 grams of total sugar, and at least six grams of protein per serving," says Feller. "The lower the fat, the more likely they are to add extra sugar. So you need to be aware of this."
In addition to added sugar, some brands may also use artificial flavors and colors in their yogurt, all of which you want to avoid.
So ... what brands of yogurt should you buy then? "I suggest the Icelandic style (a.k.a. skyrr)," says Feller. "I also love Siggis and Fage for their rich, creamy taste." Two other places to go: Chobani and Greek Gods, recommends nutritionist Marina Savelyeva, RD. They are all high in protein and low in sugar (as long as you go for easy, of course).
But why exactly is Greek yogurt so good for you - and how does it differ from other yogurts in the milk duct? Here is information on how to make it, as well as eight legitimate benefits you should know about.
What exactly is Greek yogurt?
"The main difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is how much it was stressed," explains Feller. “Greek yogurt is strained to remove the whey, which gives the yogurt a thicker consistency. It also reduces its sugar content and increases its protein content. "
For example, a 7-ounce container of Greek yogurt contains approximately 18 grams of protein and six grams of sugar, while an 8-ounce container of regular yogurt is only six grams of protein and eight grams of sugar.
Like other yogurt, Greek yogurt contains "live strains" of probiotics, says Feller. Some options may contain vitamin D as well.
The benefits of Greek yogurt
Together, these nutritional factors make Greek yogurt damn healthy for you. Here are eight specific benefits that you absolutely need to have on your radar.
1. It could help you lose weight
"Greek yogurt can definitely help you lose weight thanks to its high protein content," says Feller. "On average, protein will keep you full for long periods of time, and depending on the fat content of the [yogurt], combining the two can keep you full for hours."
Since Greek yogurt is also lower in sugar, it can help keep blood sugar levels stable so you don't have to deal with a crash (and cravings) after you eat.
2. It will make your belly happy
"Greek yogurt contains a lot of probiotics, the healthy bacteria that keep your gut at optimal levels," says Feller. Not only is this good news for your digestion, but a healthy bowel also means better sleep, a well-functioning immune system, improved mood, and even clearer skin.
3. Greek yogurt will help your bones stay strong
"Dairy products are generally considered to be an excellent source of easily absorbable calcium - about 19 percent of your daily needs," says Savelyeva. This of course also includes Greek yogurt. Benefits of calcium include strengthening your bones and teeth, and even delaying the onset of osteoporosis with common bone condition, she explains.
4. It can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, consuming Greek yogurt may help stave off type 2 diabetes due to its probiotic content.
One important caveat: "You need to make sure that the yogurt you consume is free of added sugars such as cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, or fruit with added sugar," says Feller. The natural sugar contained in lactose should only make up a few grams.
Not so in yogurt? See Camila Mendes try some of the most popular açai bowls:
5. Greek yogurt contains a host of other important minerals and vitamins
Calcium isn't the only important nutrient in this stuff. "Greek yogurt contains vitamin B12, which helps maintain red blood cells and helps your nervous system work properly," says Savelyeva. "It also has several other vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, zinc, iodine, potassium, and riboflavin, which have a ton of important benefits, like lowering blood pressure, boosting immunity, and improving thyroid function." Not bad for a single creamy meal, right?
6. You can use it in all types of recipes as a healthier alternative
"There's this misconception that Greek yogurt can only be eaten for breakfast, but that's not the case at all," says Feller. "I love using Greek yogurt in pancakes, as a sour cream substitute, or even in my dinner recipes."
Whether you use it in dips, marinades, or salad dressings, replacing Greek yogurt with other ingredients in your kitchen can add nutritional value to everything you eat.
7. It's an inexpensive way to meet your protein needs
At an average of less than 20 cents an ounce, Greek yogurt is an incredibly affordable source of protein - especially when compared to seafood or lean meats like chicken or turkey. This means you can get more bang for your buck with every meal of the day.
8. Greek yogurt can aid exercise recovery
Greek yogurt can contribute to muscle regeneration thanks to its high protein content. After all, the amino acids in protein are the building blocks needed to repair torn muscles and help produce new muscle cells. "Some Greek yogurt, either in a smoothie or on its own, after a workout, can be a great way to relax," says Feller.
Bottom line: Greek yogurt is absolutely fine for you as long as you choose a variety that is low in sugar. From its impressive nutritional content to its low price, it's a creamy and delicious food with many health benefits.
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