Rich in protein, Greek yogurt is a fermented food that offers numerous health benefits. Let’s discover the properties and characteristics of Greek yogurt.
Among the various dairy products we find Greek yogurt, a product increasingly present in our homes. It is a product similar to the yogurt that we all know, but which involves a slightly different processing process, which gives the Greek yogurt a different and more full-bodied texture .
To produce Greek yogurt, in fact, after the milk fermentation process by some microorganisms (mainly Streptococcus thermophiles and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp bulgaricus, to which more can be added) we assist in the casting process, or the elimination of the whey watery, which will make the mixture much creamier than traditional yogurt.
Greek yogurt is therefore also a fermented product: production depends on the use of microorganisms capable of consuming the lactose present in milk. The fermentation of milk necessary for the preparation of any yogurt is precisely the process that makes this food extremely useful for our health. In fact, in addition to consuming lactose, the bacteria present in yogurt bring other benefits, which we will talk about later.
Greek yogurt: calories and nutritional properties
From a nutritional point of view, Greek yogurt is a food containing a good amount of protein (about double that of traditional yogurt) and low in carbohydrates. The fats of Greek yogurt, in the whole version, are about 9 g per 100 g of product, of which about 50% of saturated fats.
The fat content makes it a fairly caloric product, also in consideration of the fact that it is generally sold in packs of 170 g. As you can see in the table below, the calories of Greek yogurt are 115 per 100 g of product; therefore a jar of the most common size will contain about 200 kcal. It would therefore be an excellent snack, if eaten alone.
However, there are different products on the market, which do not contain fat or contain much less than the whole, starting product. These foods, on the other hand, contain a slightly higher amount of sugar.
As for the nutrients that make up Greek yogurt, we emphasize its calcium content: 150 mg per 100 g of yogurt. A 170 g Greek yogurt, therefore, contains almost 30% of the calcium we need daily.
We also find a fair amount of B vitamins , and in particular riboflavin, as well as phosphorus. Below we present the table with the nutritional values of whole Greek yogurt.
Nutritional values per 100g of Greek yogurt:
- Kcal: 115
- Carbohydrates: 2 g
- Fat: 9.1 g
- Proteins: 6.4 g
- Fibers: 0 g
- Waterfall: 78.5 g
- Phosphorus: 130 mg
- Soccer: 150 mg
- Iron: 0.3 mg
- Potassium: 150 mg
- Sulfur: 53 mg
- Sodium: 71 mg
- Vitamin B1: 0.03 mg
- Vitamin B2: 0.36 mg
- Vitamin B12: 0.2 µg
- Vitamin E: 0.38 mg
- Retinol: 115 µg
- Biotin: 2.6 µg
Greek yogurt and traditional yogurt: the nutritional differences
After having seen the nutritional composition of Greek yogurt, let’s now try to evaluate the differences between Greek yogurt and traditional yogurt and, for convenience, let’s consider the versions produced with whole milk in both cases.
- Calories: Greek yogurt contains almost double the calories of traditional yogurt: 115 against 66 per 100 grams of yogurt;
- Macronutrients: it has a greater quantity of both proteins and fats, however we find a smaller quantity of carbohydrates. We are not surprised to verify, having seen together the method of production of the product, that the quantity of water is also different: in Greek yogurt we find less of it;
- Vitamins and minerals: as regards the content of minerals and vitamins, in Greek yogurt we find a slightly higher quantity of calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B2, and all the fat-soluble vitamins: retinol, vitamin E and vitamin D. Traditional yogurt, on the other hand, has a higher quantity of chlorine and almost all B vitamins, except for riboflavin (or vitamin b2).
Greek yogurt: health benefits
The fermentation process and its nutritional profile give Greek yogurt numerous properties. Let’s now explore all the main benefits of this product.
✓ Antithrombotic properties
Among the properties of Greek yogurt we find cardioprotective ones. In particular, some peptides active during fermentation and some fatty acids produced by the fermentation of S. Thermophillus and L. Bulgaricus have shown antithrombotic activity and the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation linked to the development of atherosclerotic plaque.
✓ Increase in muscle strength
The consumption of Greek yogurt after exercise, instead of a product containing carbohydrates, allowed a greater increase in physical strength, muscle thickness and a greater decrease in fat mass.
✓ Effect on the intestinal microbiota
The presence of probiotic organisms inside yogurt makes this food an excellent ally to improve the composition of our microbiota (also known as intestinal bacterial flora). Having a healthy microbiota is essential to stay healthy, as you can learn more by reading our article: Gut bacterial flora: what it is for and how to keep it healthy.
✓ Satisfying effect
It has been hypothesized that the consumption of Greek yogurt, compared to traditional yogurt, is linked to an increase in satiety time, thanks to the presence of a greater amount of protein. Although preliminary studies have not confirmed this hypothesis, this food could prove to be an excellent snack, especially for those who want to lose weight!
Does Greek yogurt make you fat?
Greek yogurt, like any other food, does not make you fat in itself . It is also possible to eat this food during a slimming diet as the quantity of proteins and fats, in addition to its consistency, make it a very satiating product.
However, it is important to be careful to choose the most natural product possible and limit the consumption of sugary products, sweetened and containing various food additives: these products are in fact much less healthy.
We can choose between Greek yogurt and traditional yogurt based on our tastes and preferences. If we rely on a nutrition professional, the choice of yogurt may depend on our needs: we have seen, in fact, that this product is richer in protein than traditional yogurt and this feature can be exploited to reach the correct needs.
Greek yogurt: how it is used in cooking
Greek yogurt is a food that adapts to different preparations in the kitchen. First of all, a first idea is to add it at breakfast, together with fresh seasonal fruit and dried fruit or dark chocolate chips. Also excellent added to muesli, so as to create a colorful meal, rich in antioxidants and satiating: a way to consume Greek yogurt even on a diet!
It can also be used for the preparation of protein-rich pancakes, useful for athletes. There are several recipes in this regard, more or less greedy: the choice of the recipe will also depend on the goals or the need to lose weight.
In the same way you can use it for the preparation of savory muffins stuffed with vegetables: an idea for a quick, but well-balanced meal.
This food can also be used to create sauces useful for dressing meat, fish or salads. In this regard, just mix the Greek yogurt with your favorite aromatic herbs (excellent, for example, with chives) and a little lemon juice.
Finally, it is frequently used for the preparation of desserts: from ice creams prepared with fresh ripe fruit and Greek yogurt, to tiramisu or lighter cheeses. In conclusion, with Greek yogurt in the kitchen it is possible to indulge yourself!
As for the daily amount of Greek yogurt to consume, don’t be afraid. The guidelines, in fact, recommend a daily consumption of 1-3 servings of milk or yogurt and therefore we can also consume 350-370 g every day!
Contraindications of Greek yogurt: when to avoid or limit it
In general, it is important to avoid the consumption of Greek yogurt when you are allergic to milk proteins, which of course we will also find in this food. In case of lactose intolerance it is important to emphasize that this product contains only small quantities: lactose, in fact, is fermented by bacteria and will no longer be present in yogurt. However, some people may report gastrointestinal discomfort: in these cases you can also find the lactose-free version.
Also pay attention to the consumption of Greek yogurt in children: their protein needs are in fact limited and an excess of protein is related to various metabolic risks in adults. If you have children, therefore, do not overdo the quantities of Greek yogurt and go for the traditional one.
Finally, this advice applies to everyone, but especially for those suffering from diabetes or insulin resistance: limit sugary products, with fruit or other ingredients. In fact, these products are very rich in simple sugars and, when consumed frequently, can contribute to the development of these conditions and to weight gain!
Greek yogurt: how to make it at home
For the preparation of homemade Greek yogurt it is necessary to start with traditional yogurt. For the preparation of traditional yogurt you can make your life easier by purchasing a yogurt maker; in case you want to try your hand at classic recipes, instead, get some blankets!
- You will need 1 L of milk and a jar of yogurt (or lactic ferments that can be purchased in pharmacies or online);
- You will have to boil the milk and then bring it to a temperature of about 30 ° C, add the yogurt and divide it into jars (if you have opted for the yogurt maker, just follow the instructions!);
- The jars must be kept warm for at least 8 hours: the yoghurt maker will do it for you, otherwise you will have to wrap them in fleece blankets.
At this point you can move on to the yogurt pouring to get your Greek yogurt: you will need to have a clean cloth or sterile gauze available. You will use this cloth (or gauze) to separate the yogurt from the whey: we therefore recommend that you also get a bowl and a strainer. Place the colander on the bowl and cover it with the cloth; then pour over the yogurt and wait 4 to 8 hours, depending on the desired consistency. The liquid that you will collect in the bowl is exactly what distinguishes Greek yogurt from traditional yogurt. At this point, collect the yogurt in a bowl and enjoy!