Greek Yogurt: What It Is and How It Differs from Other Yogurts

Greek Yogurt: What It Is and How It Differs from Other Yogurts

Few foods are as popular and appealing as Greek yogurt. Although its roots trace back to ancient Greece, where it was called oxygala, which means “sour milk” in Greek, Greek yogurt’s unique flavor has not until now appealed to the masses.

However, with the emphasis on healthy foods on social media and the overall consumer shift towards organic foods over the past decade, Greek he yogurt has become one of the most popular dairy products of modern times, and some It has become even more popular than regular yogurt in the region of the world.

For example, according to Statista, total U.S. yogurt revenue in 2022 was $7.2 billion, with Greek yogurt accounting for more than half of that. It is expected that its popularity will further increase in the future. Some predict that the global Greek yogurt market will reach nearly 13.5 billion units by 2030.

What is Greek yogurt?

Like regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is made from fermented milk. But unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is high in one of the main proteins called whey, which is drained or strained. Another major protein is called casein.

Because the whey that is removed is naturally liquid, Greek yogurt is denser than regular yogurt, thick enough to almost hold a spoon upright. According to Christina Cook, a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Greek yogurt also contains high levels of lactic acid, which is produced when the natural sugar (lactose) in milk is fermented by bacteria. “It’s the lactic acid content that gives Greek yogurt that characteristic tart or sour taste,” she explains.

Is Greek yogurt healthy?

Greek yogurt is considered healthy for many reasons, including being a good source of micronutrients like vitamins A and B12, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iodine. “These are all nutrients many people lack in their diets,” says Shelley Rael, RD, a registered dietitian and nutritionist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She adds that Greek yogurt also contains live, active bacteria, making it “making it a great probiotic food and good for your gut health.”

Perhaps the main reason Greek yogurt is considered healthy is because its high concentration of casein means it “tend to make it high in total protein and lower in carbohydrates than other types of yogurt,” Cook says. In fact, ¾ of a cup of major-brand Greek yogurt contains 14 grams of protein, while ⅔ of a cup of major-brand regular yogurt contains only 5 grams of protein.

Not only does Greek yogurt contain at least twice as much protein as regular yogurt, it also has less sugar and sodium, says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, associate professor of nutrition at New York University and author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim,” it also has less sugar and less sodium. At the same time, because it lacks whey, “Greek yogurt tends to contain less calcium than regular yogurt,” she says.

Another benefit of Greek yogurt is that “people with lactose intolerance because the good bacteria in the yogurt fermentation process often takes care of that lactose for us,” says expert. She also points out that Greek yogurt’s unique flavor makes it a good replacement for sour cream in recipes and dips that “which you could not do with regular yogurt.”

Though rare, the live bacteria found in both Greek yogurt and yogurt can cause illness in people with weakened immune systems. People with milk allergies should also avoid Greek yogurt. Flavored Greek yogurt may also contain more sugar than you want to consume. For this reason, “It’s important to read the nutrition label on all flavored Greek yogurts,” Young advises.

Despite some of these limitations, expert says, “Greek yogurt is a great addition to most people’s daily diet.”

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