Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Eating Well
Is Greek yogurt a better choice?
Janet Hackert, Regional Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Harrison County, University of Missouri Extension
Although Greek yogurt has been around since the 1920’s, it’s a new food sensation in the U.S. In fact, it is not yet listed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, which is a resource that can be used to determine what is in a food.
So what makes Greek yogurt different than regular yogurt? According to Julie Shertzer, human nutritionist with Ohio State University Extension, Greek yogurt goes through a special straining process that removes much of the yogurt’s watery whey. This makes a yogurt that is much thicker and richer than regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt is concentrated, so its nutritive value is affected. Exactly to what extent depends on the particular brand and variety. Greek yogurt can have one and a half times the protein of a comparable variety of regular yogurt. Brands of Greek yogurt sold in the U.S. tend to be lower in sugar and sodium than regular yogurt. However, because of the process used to remove the whey, Greek yogurt can also be lower in calcium.
When weighing the nutritional advantages and disadvantages, and considering the richer flavor and thicker texture, one might also want to investigate price. In some areas, Greek yogurt may be twice as expensive as regular yogurt or even more.
Whether Greek or regular, yogurt can be a delicious way to get protein and calcium. For either, be sure to compare the Nutrition Facts labels to see what you’re getting in the way of fat, protein, sugar, sodium, calories and calcium.
Last update: Friday, March 18, 2011