So-called 'Greek yoghurt' has exploded in popularity in recent years, with Australia's major supermarkets all stocking multiple brands. It's now the number one choice for people who want a healthy alternative to normal yoghurt.
But hang on. Wasn't yoghurt always healthy? What's going on? It turns out there are certain health benefits — but also health drawbacks — to eating Greek yoghurt over the regular stuff. Let's take a look at the science.
Business Insider recently asked several nutritionists to explain the differences between Greek and non-Greek yoghurt. While both use the same basic ingredients - milk and bacterial cultures - there are also several disparities that go beyond the country of origin.
One of the main differences is that Greek yogurt is strained more times than regular yoghurt. As Business Insider explains:
After the bacteria ferments during the yogurt-making process, the milk curdles and the whey, which is the liquid component of milk, remains. The whey liquid is then strained off of the solid yogurt. Regular yogurt is strained twice, leaving some liquid left in the product. Greek yogurt, she added, is strained three times, removing most of the liquid.
This results in a more concentrated product with up to twice as much protein - handy if you want to stay fuller for longer. The removal of whey also explains why Greek yoghurt has a thicker texture and a stronger, more sour flavour. (Whey liquid is what gives regular yoghurt its faintly sweet aftertaste.)
Another benefit of Greek yogurt is less carbs and sugar. Again, this is die to the extra liquid that gets removed from Greek yogurt during the straining process, which contains natural sugars.
On the flip side, Greek Yoghurt tends to contain more fat than regular, full-fat yoghurt. According to Business Insider, a serving size of regular yoghurt can contain five grams of saturated fat whereas an identical serving size of Greek yoghurt can contain seven grams. You can of course buy low fat versions of both products, but it remains something to keep in mind.
Regular yoghurt also tends to have higher levels of calcium, minerals and probiotics. Again, this is because of the whey liquids that get removed from Greek yoghurt.
In conclusion, Greek yoghurt isn't necessarily that much better for you than the regular varieties - it largely depends on the nutrients you want to receive. Naturally, the main consideration for weight loss should always be sugar content - and that includes the condiments.
[Via Business Insider]
This article has been updated since its original publication.