Tangy, protein-packed, versatile, creamy—there's a few reasons Greek yogurt is loved and recommended by nutrition and fitness pros alike. But what is it? And is it worth the extra money? Keep reading to find out how this Mediterranean super food can support your goals, whether you're hoping to shed a few pounds, improve your health or make the most out of your next sweat session.
Super Food to the Rescue
Though Greek-style yogurt is simply a natural yogurt that's been repeatedly strained to an ultra-thick consistency, the benefits go far beyond its rich and creamy texture. If you're someone who struggles to get in enough protein, Greek yogurt is an easy way to get in this vital nutrition. An excellent source of complete protein, one six-ounce container typically provides as much as two scrambled eggs! It's perfect for a quick breakfast, satisfying snack or post-workout recovery meal.
Not a big milk drinker? Greek yogurt can help you meet your daily calcium needs, with many varieties offering close to 20 percent of your daily value. And because it contains significantly less lactose thanks to the straining process, Greek yogurt is easier to digest for individuals with lactose intolerance. Important not only for bone health, calcium intake has also been shown to have an inverse relationship with body fat percentage in certain populations, so don't skimp on this essential mineral!
Greek yogurt also plays an important role in overall health and well-being. Regardless of variety, Greek yogurts are chock-full of live and active cultures that help to establish a strong microflora of "good bacteria" within the intestinal tract. These little helpers are key to gut health and immunity.
4. Weight-Loss Support
The epitome of a nutrient-dense super food, Greek yogurt is an ideal addition to most weight-loss plans. Rich in amino acids for lean muscle support, brimming with friendly bacteria and a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, Greek yogurt is both a filling and satisfying snack that packs a nutritional wallop. When hunger strikes, it's the perfect creamy treat to keep those cravings in check without derailing your efforts. Just be sure to pick a variety that's right for your needs.
Shopping for Greek Yogurt
When it comes to choosing a Greek yogurt, not all brands are created equal and many vary considerably in their nutritional content. One single-serve cup might contain as little as 90 calories per serving or as much as 310 calories. Why? As always, it comes down to ingredients.
While some Greek yogurts are made with nonfat milk and have zero fat, others are on par with a scoop of ice cream. Similarly, some varieties keep it simple with zero added sweeteners, while others turn yogurt into a decadent dessert with more than seven teaspoons worth of added sugar. Even protein content is all over the place and can vary wildly, from as little as six grams to a whopping 18 grams per six-ounce serving.
Bottom line? Always be sure to check out the nutrition facts label. Do a quick comparison at your local grocery store to find the brand and variety that best meets your needs and preferences. A low-fat, plain Greek yogurt can be a great choice for someone looking to add protein without bouncing the calorie budget, while a full-fat, sweetened variety could be an efficient way to boost energy intake for a person struggling to get in enough calories. With such a huge selection, you're sure to find something perfect for your plan!